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

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Drivesmart column: Are we perpetuating mediocrity with how we teach young drivers?

If the teacher is ill equipped to teach, the new driver will not learn what is necessary

Cowichan Valley Public Art Gallery sharing wealth of online art

The CVPAG page will feature new artists and galleries every two weeks

Mary Lowther column: The beauty of Lady Godivas from the garden

So THAT’S where my Lady Godiva pumpkins went!

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

List of cancelled Cowichan Valley community events

An ongoing list of events that have been cancelled in the Cowichan Valley due to COVID-19

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Researchers look at humidity as a weapon in the fight against airborne viruses

Regular hand washing, physical distancing and PPE for health care workers remains best line of defense

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at federal prison in B.C.; other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, refusal to work notice sent, says correctional officer

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Most Read