Money laundering allegations involving sectors to the likes of gambling, real estate, and luxury cars have been concerning British Columbia Government for many months. A 2016 draft report called Estimating Scale of Money Laundering in Canada that the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada worked on failed to pinpoint the exact figure that might have been laundered.
According to the watchdog, it could be anywhere between CA$5 billion and CA$40 billion. The last weeks of 2018 saw estimations reaching CA$2 billion laundered a figure that shocked British Columbia Attorney-General David Eby. Back then, he was outraged that criminals had supposedly laundered copious amounts of dirty cash and casino locations such as River Rock Casino in Richmond enabled the scheme.
FINTRAC Draft Report Finds Estimation Hard
According to previously stated allegations, casino venues across British Columbia have been used as laundromats with alleged reports dated back to 2014. Research on the subject had been ongoing for quite some time and March was eyed as the month that would bring several important reports. FinTRAC worked on its own research between January 2015 and May 2016 seeking to pinpoint the exact figure that had been washed at casino facilities in British Columbia.
As it turned out this was a complicated task even for the money laundering watchdog. In a sense, it could not reach its ultimate goal and give the government a better perspective on the true scope of the money laundering crisis. By obtaining this knowledge, province officials would have been able to estimate the level of success authorities have when preventing crimes. The report is still in its draft state, as it was not finished.
According to FinTRAC, the employee working on this report used publicly available data for their research and one of the purposes of this research was for obtaining a better understanding of money laundering risks. FinTRAC spokeswoman Renée Bercier stated that due to the criminal nature of washing cash, estimation of an exact figure is a complicated task.
Between CA$5M and CA$40M Laundered
British Columbians have previously expressed their desire to see measures that could prevent such crisis from happening in the future and reaching the scale it has allegedly reached. About 76 percent of the people that had participated in a recent phone survey claimed that they want a public inquiry to take place and give them the opportunity to speak up on the subject.
Officials to the likes of British Columbia Premier John Horgan, British Columbia Attorney-General David Eby, federal Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Bill Blair, and most recently Adam Olsen, BC Green Party MLA for Saanich North and the Islands, have expressed their public inquiry support. However, even if approval were given, the two money laundering reports scheduled for the end of this month would have to be issued first.
Control and better oversight of the gaming field in British Columbia are among the improvements people want to see as a result of their reports. The prevalent opinion on the subject is that actions could have been taken sooner to prevent the crisis. Attorney-General Eby stated that the issuing of this 2016 report could have signaled an issue and prevented criminals from taking advantage of the situation for years on end.