B.C. Attorney General David Eby has found “deeply troubling” reports of money being laundered through the province’s housing markets.
His statement came after The Globe and Mail published a story showing how private lenders with connections to drug crime were reportedly parking their cash in Vancouver’s housing market, and taking extreme measures to call in their loans.
Coverage of money-laundering on Globalnews.ca:
“The nature of these allegations, that this money-laundering activity is actively influencing our real estate market and is connected to the sale of life-destroying fentanyl, underline the critical importance of addressing money laundering urgently and not ignoring it,” Eby said in a release.
“This story confirms our government’s commitment to taking action to crack down on money laundering and criminal activity in B.C.”
The Globe and Mail story, by Kathy Tomlinson and Xiao Xu, detailed a process by which suspected drug dealers loaned money to homebuyers with interest rates of nearly 40 per cent, while other private lenders had been known to charge up to 120 per cent.
And the loans were likely made using what the newspaper called “dirty money derived from drug deals or other crimes.”
The story identified 17 lenders who had a stake of $47 million in 45 properties in the Vancouver area.
And it also said dealers are likely trafficking substances such as fentanyl.
In his statement, Eby said he hired former RCMP officer Peter German to look at the province’s anti-money-laundering policies and practices with regard to B.C. casinos.
“As part of his review, German is to explore what connection, if any, the issue has with other sectors of B.C.’s economy,” he said.
“This may include areas such as real estate or tax policy.”
The Globe and Mail’s report is not the first story to look at money laundering in the province, and how it relates to B.C. casinos.
Last year, Vancouver Sun reporter Sam Cooper wrote that an international money-laundering operation was allegedly using casinos such as Richmond’s River Rock to take drug profits, which were then handed over to VIP gamblers.
Said gamblers would allegedly take that money, buy chips, win more cash and then possibly invest it in Canadian assets — like real estate.