B.C.’s Attorney-General presses for resources to fight money laundering

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January 9, 2019.  The Globe and Mail.  Mike Hager and Xiao Xu. B.C.’s Attorney-General presses for resources to fight money laundering

As quoted:   B.C.’s Attorney-General says a lack of federal resources for investigating money-laundering is masking the full extent of the problem as he pushes for Ottawa and the RCMP to allocate more resources to crack down on financial crime in the province.

David Eby doubts the capacity of federal agencies to investigate the hundreds of millions of dollars in ill-gotten gains being laundered through the province’s casinos and its real estate sector, given the recent collapse of two large federal criminal cases.

Mr. Eby responded in a phone interview Tuesday to recent revelations of a civil-forfeiture claim alleging $220-million a year was being laundered through a Richmond, B.C., business, which had a federal criminal case against it and its two owners dropped at the end of last November without explanation from the federal Crown or RCMP. A separate criminal proceeding was dropped on Dec. 4 against two Richmond residents accused of trafficking thousands of pills of fentanyl and importing cocaine.

“The stays are one piece, but the concern that I have are the investigations that aren’t even being done,” Mr. Eby said. “It seems to me that a very small percentage of what should be investigated is being investigated because of [a lack of] resources.

“And then, those cases that are investigated appear to be having trouble getting to court and getting convictions.”

He said he is hopeful that Ottawa and the RCMP will increase their funding to tackle the issue after recent positive conversations with both federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and Bill Blair, Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction. In the meantime, he said former RCMP deputy commissioner Peter German, who also chaired an earlier investigation into money-laundering at B.C.’s casinos, is investigating possible federal and provincial tools to tackle the money-laundering in B.C.’s real estate, luxury car and horse racing sectors.