The RCMP will now share information with investigator Peter German as part of the ongoing investigation into money laundering in British Columbia’s housing market.
There were mounting concerns that gaps between the B.C. government and the federal government were causing problems at getting the right information needed for the probe.
B.C. Attorney General David Eby and federal Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Bill Blair met on Tuesday to discuss ongoing concerns about money laundering and addressing the challenges of B.C. being left out of conversations happening at the federal and RCMP level.
“We are starting to see some progress on this issue and certainly credit Mr. Blair on this issue and getting the information flowing,” Eby said. “It is our assumption that things will continue to flow.”
Federal government documents show that money laundering in B.C. now reaches into the billions of dollars and that information was held back from the provincial government. Blair says he is aware of the concerns and is working towards better communication with B.C. on the ongoing problem.
“There is information that clearly both of our governments need and that we need to work on together,” Blair said. “We are committed to make sure when information is available we make that possible.”
There have been mounting calls for a full blown public inquiry into organized crime, opioids and money laundering in the province.
Coverage of money laundering in B.C. on Globalnews.ca
On Monday, the BC Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) cited revelations in Global News investigations about the connection of fentanyl, money laundering and Vancouver’s housing affordability crisis, and also the recent failure of an RCMP money-laundering investigation, as reasons in favour of an inquiry.
Eby says any decision on a public inquiry will be made by cabinet.
One of the major concerns of launching a public inquiry is that it would shut down any ongoing prosecutions. But Eby wants to ensure that problems are addressed before a final decision is made on an inquiry.
“We would like the prosecutors to be able to complete their work, certainly in the absence of public airing of evidence that could compromise their ability to prosecute a case,” Eby said. “Our hope is that will be able to act quickly to close loop holes in our housing market where those loop holes exist.”
The provincial government is also awaiting the return of two reports at the end of March looking into alleged money laundering in the housing market.
As to whether the federal government will put into place the recommendations put forward by German’s first report or whether they will implement recommendations from the second report, Blair was non-committal.
“I have known and worked with Peter for decades and I admire him greatly. With the Attorney General we are committed to supporting him with his work,” Blair said. “His recommendations will carry a great deal a weight with both orders of government because he is profoundly respected. I will await the outcome of his work before predeterming the response to it.”