British Columbia asks Ottawa for changes to help fight money laundering

The Canadian Press
March 27, 2018
By The Canadian Press
VICTORIA — British Columbia’s attorney general wants the federal government to help the province prevent money laundering.

Former RCMP deputy commissioner Peter German has been reviewing B.C’s policies to fight money laundering.

Based on his findings, David Eby says there are specific concerns he plans to raise with the House of Commons finance committee in Ottawa.

Eby says better resources are needed for police to follow leads on illegal activity provided by the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada.

He says that six years ago the RCMP eliminated its proceeds of crime and commercial crime sections and moved to task-force-based investigations.

Eby says the RCMP is rebuilding its expertise on financial crime, but that has shifted responsibility for white-collar crime to provincial and municipal police forces, which generally did not have resources or expertise in that area.

The attorney general would like to see better communication between law enforcement and the financial transactions centre, because police don’t use the system now due to privacy concerns.

As well, Eby would like to track the purchase of luxury cars in certain geographic areas, such as Greater Vancouver, because those transactions can be used to reintroduce illegal cash into the economy.

“British Columbia’s insight on this pressing issue will allow the federal committee to better understand the unique challenges and impacts that we face on this side of the Rockies,” he said Monday in a news release. “We must all be better equipped to take action in the fight against criminal gangs profiting from crime.”

German’s review of money laundering policies in B.C.’s gambling industry began in September and some changes have been made based on his interim recommendations.

The B.C. Lottery Corp. now requires anyone spending $10,000 or more at casinos within a 24-hour period to prove where the money came from. Gamblers must show a transaction receipt from a financial institution for all cash, bank drafts and certified cheques used for buy-ins.

Players must also sign a source-of-funds declaration form. If any information appears suspicious or is missing, casinos must refuse the transaction and investigate.

The lottery corporation also supported having investigators on site at high-volume casinos in the Lower Mainland at all times. The on-duty regulators have the power to monitor and discipline gaming employees and casino owners.

The province began the review after a report was released saying the River Rock Casino in Richmond, B.C., had accepted $13.5 million in $20 bills within one month, which police said could be proceeds of crime.

The Great Canadian Gaming Corp., which runs River Rock, has said compliance procedures are strictly followed and the company is committed to preventing illegal activities at all its locations.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2018

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