Commissioner Austin Cullen listens to introductions before opening statements at the inquiry into money laundering in B.C. in Vancouver, on Monday, February 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

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

Inquiry begins into laundering activity in casinos, horse racing, real estate and luxury car markets

The B.C. government says money laundering has distorted the economy, fuelled the opioid crisis and overheated the real estate market as a provincial inquiry into the criminal activity began Monday.

Jacqueline Hughes, a lawyer for the province, says the past cannot be undone but the government can take steps to make B.C. the most difficult jurisdiction to launder money.

B.C.’s NDP government called the independent inquiry last year after three reports revealed that casinos and horse racing as well as the real estate and luxury car markets had become laundromats for the proceeds of crime.

Commissioner Austin Cullen is hearing opening remarks this week, with Hughes the first to speak on behalf of the province’s Finance Ministry and gaming policy enforcement branch.

Hughes says B.C. has earned an international reputation as a haven for money laundering and the public deserves to know if there was wilful blindness to what was going on.

READ MORE: RCMP has ‘no’ dedicated money laundering investigators in B.C.

She says the government has taken steps including creating a beneficial ownership registry to try and block those buying real estate from hiding behind numbered companies, but it is looking forward to the inquiry’s recommendations.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

money laundering

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

Just Posted

Vernon woman stitches mask scraps into COVID-19 memory quilt

Senior and husband have made more than 2,000 masks for local company

Invasive mussel monitoring stations detect 10 boats

Boats were headed to Okanagan and Thompson regions

Vandals put Vernon public piano out of play

Downtown instrument destroyed, but public project is not over

Westside wildfire human caused

Blaze started as a house fire and spread to the bush

COVID-19 outbreak at Okanagan Correctional Centre, involves 3 staff

Three staff involved in possible exposure, health officials say

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

Piano set up in Penticton downtown

Initiative an effort to bring music and creativity to the streets

Man who drove into music festival crowd sentenced to 14 months in jail

Several people seriously hurt during event held near Princeton

Conservation seizes fawn illegally kept captive in Vancouver Island home

A Comox Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Salmon Arm’s first Bitcoin ATM installed in mall

The kiosk will allow people to buy cryptocurrency or sell it for cash.

Summerland mayor asks for community conversation on racism

Incidents in July prompt calls for dialogue

Summerland working to reopen recreation facilities

Arena and pool are opening, but ball season will not proceed

Surrey man found guilty in West Kelowna killing of common-law spouse

Tejwant Danjou was convicted of second-degree murder in the July 2018 death of Rama Gauravarapu in West Kelowna

Most Read