B.C. Attorney General David Eby says he’s frustrated Canada’s federal government hasn’t shared a police intelligence study that showed organized crime groups are suspected of laundering billions of dollars in B.C. real estate.
At a press conference on Thursday, Eby referred to a confidential RCMP intelligence study obtained and investigated by Global News, which showed police found crime networks tied to China had laundered over $1 billion in Vancouver luxury real estate in 2016.
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Eby says the information uncovered by Global News in this study and a new international report on B.C. money-laundering cases has taken him by surprise, and the situation highlights information sharing “gaps” in Canada that criminals can exploit.
Eby said that his government has confirmed RCMP completed the Vancouver real-estate money-laundering study, but although his government has requested the data reported by Global News, the federal government has not yet shared it.
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Eby also said he’s concerned he wasn’t notified of new federal government money-laundering estimations first reported in a Global News investigation about reasons for the failure of RCMP’s massive E-Pirate investigation into B.C. casino laundering and underground banking.
Eby said B.C.’s government understood, based on early RCMP investigations, that an alleged Richmond underground bank had laundered about $200 million per year.
But Canada’s federal government and the international Financial Action Task Force (FATF) now estimate the alleged criminal bank laundered over $1 billion per year, allegedly helping Chinese gamblers launder funds through B.C. casinos to buy real estate, and moving cash and drugs for Triads and Mexican cartels.
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“The question I ask myself is, ‘Why am I reading about this in an international report instead of receiving the information government to government?'” Eby reportedly told a press conference in Victoria on Thursday.
“It’s those information gaps that organized crime thrives in, and we need to do a better job between our governments.”
According to The Canadian Press, Eby has contacted Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale about his information-sharing concerns, and Eby also plans to meet Minister Bill Blair, who has been tasked by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to tackle organized crime money-laundering and opioid trafficking in B.C.
It is not known if Canada’s federal government plans to share with B.C.’s government the RCMP money-laundering data obtained by Global News.
The RCMP did not immediately respond to questions about the RCMP study, and Eby’s comments.
Blair’s staff did not answer whether Blair will attempt to have the RCMP study data provided to Eby.
In a statement, a spokeswoman for Blair said: “Our government takes the threat posed by money laundering and organized crime to Canada’s national security and the integrity of our financial sector very seriously … (and) continues to collaborate with both Dr. Peter German and B.C.’s Attorney General, David Eby, about how to further collaborate and reduce instances of money laundering across Canada.”