B.C. government to hold public inquiry into money laundering

B.C. Attorney General David Eby.							CHAD HIPOLITO  THE CANADIAN PRESS

B.C. Attorney General David Eby. CHAD HIPOLITO THE CANADIAN PRESS

The B.C. government is holding a public inquiry into money laundering in the province, which has been blamed for driving up housing prices and worsening the deadly overdose crisis.

The government released two reports last week estimating $7.4 billion in illegal cash was laundered in the province in 2018.

"It became abundantly clear to us that the depth and magnitude of money laundering in British Columbia was far worse than we imagined when we were first sworn in, and that's why we established the inquiry today", Horgan told reporters Wednesday.

Carole Taylor, former B.C. finance minister who served as a special advisor under the premiership Christy Clark, talks about the potential outcomes of the Alberta-B.C. fight over Trans Mountain expansion and oil shipments.

One of the reports said $5 billion of that was siphoned into real estate, forcing the costs of homes up by at least five per cent.

Some of the powers that will be available to Cullen that were not available for Peter German when writing his report include the right to inspect any public place and seize records, the right to apply to court to obtain a warrant, the right to order a person to attend a hearing and testify, and the power to find someone in contempt if they fail to comply, explained Attorney General David Eby. The commission of inquiry into money laundering will have 18 months to deliver an interim report.

It said B.C. ranked fourth for the crime among a division of six regions in Canada, behind Alberta, Ontario and the Prairies - collectively Saskatchewan and Manitoba - for the years 2011 to 2015. Last year, another report detailed extensive links between money laundering and B.C. casinos.