Commissioner Austin Cullen listens to introductions before opening statements at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, in Vancouver, on February 24, 2020. Money laundering in British Columbia will be under scrutiny again this week when a public inquiry resumes today. Over the next 3 1/2 weeks, expert witnesses ranging from academics to police officers are expected to shed light on how dirty money is quantified and the regulatory models that are being used to fight it around the globe. The B.C. government called the inquiry amid growing concern that illegal cash was helping fuel its real estate, luxury car and gambling sectors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Commissioner Austin Cullen listens to introductions before opening statements at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, in Vancouver, on February 24, 2020. Money laundering in British Columbia will be under scrutiny again this week when a public inquiry resumes today. Over the next 3 1/2 weeks, expert witnesses ranging from academics to police officers are expected to shed light on how dirty money is quantified and the regulatory models that are being used to fight it around the globe. The B.C. government called the inquiry amid growing concern that illegal cash was helping fuel its real estate, luxury car and gambling sectors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Cullen commission into money laundering in British Columbia resumes today

Inquiry was called amid growing concern that illegal cash was helping fuel real estate, luxury car and gambling

Money laundering in British Columbia will be under scrutiny again this week when a public inquiry resumes today.

Over the next 3 1/2 weeks, expert witnesses ranging from academics to police officers are expected to shed light on how dirty money is quantified and the regulatory models that are being used to fight it around the globe.

The B.C. government called the inquiry amid growing concern that illegal cash was helping fuel its real estate, luxury car and gambling sectors.

Opening arguments were held in February and the main hearings scheduled to begin in September will delve into specific industries.

Commission lawyer Brock Martland says the goal of this part of the inquiry is to create an understanding of what money laundering is and the strategies other countries have used to get a grip on it.

The hearings are being streamed online.

Expert witnesses will include Simon Lord of the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency, RCMP Chief Supt. Robert Gilchrist of the Criminal Intelligence Service of Canada and Oliver Bullough, author of “Moneyland: The Inside Story of the Crooks and Kleptocrats Who Rule the World.”

“The sort of game plan is to have the view from 30,000 feet,” Martland said.

The inquiry is being led by commissioner Austin Cullen. Attorney General David Eby has said he hopes it will answer lingering questions about how the criminal activity has flourished in the province.

B.C. also commissioned three reports that revealed B.C.’s gambling, real estate and luxury car industries were hotbeds for dirty money, but Eby said an inquiry will be able to dig deeper because it can compel witnesses to speak.

In February, the B.C. Real Estate Association told the inquiry that it supported the creation of a provincial land registry that identifies those buying property. It has also struck a working group to make anti-money laundering recommendations.

The B.C. Lottery Corp. said it has consistently reported suspicious transactions to Fintrac and pointed out unusual conduct to the gaming policy enforcement branch.

The corporation has also brought in measures to control or prevent the flow of dirty money since 2012, including creating an anti-money laundering unit made up of certified investigators and intelligence analysts.

And the Great Canadian Gaming Corp., which owns several B.C. gambling sites, also defended the company’s efforts to limit money laundering, telling the inquiry that criticism of the industry is unfounded.

A coalition of tax fairness groups told the inquiry at the time that hiding ill-gotten cash behind shell companies is so widespread in Canada it’s known globally as “snow washing.”

READ MORE: Acceptance of cash deposits rare in real estate, B.C. money laundering inquiry hears

READ MORE: Money laundering has warped economy and fuelled opioid crisis, B.C. tells inquiry

==

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

money laundering

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A health care worker prepares to test a Coastal GasLink field worker for COVID-19. (Coastal GasLink photo)
Coastal GasLink begins COVID screening of pipeline workers

Construction is once again ramping up following Northern Health approval of COVID management plan

Deane Gorsline, is a former Burns Lake resident who has been diagnosed with ALS. (Submitted/Lakes District News)
ALS Action Canada group ropes in political leaders

Hopes to get more support and ultimately better treatment options for Canadians

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

(Black Press file photo)
Charges laid against two suspects in pre-Christmas home invasion

An 88-year-old woman was hospitalized after being bear-sprayed in the face Dec. 18, 2020

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Most Read