January 31, 2019 6:24 pm

Vancouver no longer accepting cash payments over $10k to deter money laundering

Effective immediately, the City will no longer accept cash payments over $10,000.

Chester Ptasinski/Global News
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The City of Vancouver has announced it will no longer accept cash payments of over $10,000, an effort to deter money laundering through City Hall.

The City said the $10,000 limit aligns with a federal reporting requirement by the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada to help identify and track potential money laundering.

The announcement comes after Councillor Melissa De Genova brought forward a motion Tuesday night based on concerns that people could pay taxes, fines and fees in cash — with no identification.

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“If we’re looking at the empty homes tax, for a $5 million home that’s $50,000,” De Genova said. “It was quite troubling to me that that not only could that be paid in cash at our city hall, [but] that the person paying it didn’t need to own the home or provide any ID or any explanation as to where the cash had come from.”

READ MORE: B.C. Attorney General David Eby says there is a ‘real gap’ to deal with money laundering crimes

De Genova’s motion referenced a report commissioned by B.C.’s attorney general that says dirty money is often filtered through B.C. real estate.

“And if people are using the real estate industry to launder money, which has been alluded to, we need to [do] what we can at the local government level as a city,” De Genova said.

“I’m hoping that other cities within our region will also look at their processes.”

WATCH: Vancouver councillor takes on money laundering at City Hall

However, De Genova said she brought up the same concerns at a Metro Vancouver council meeting, and councillors from other cities told her they were already cashless.

De Genova has brought forward this motion to Vancouver city council twice before, so she said she’s pleased that it passed unanimously this time.

READ MORE: Vancouver councillor takes on money laundering at City Hall

“We have to also be accountable and transparent here, and I want to make sure we’re doing all that we can to deter that type of crime in the City of Vancouver,” De Genova said.

The City said it collected $2 billion last year in payments for city services such as permits, fines, licenses and taxes.

“Of this $2 billion, 0.6 per cent of the payments were in cash (approximately $13 million),” the City said in a release.

City staff will report back to council by the end of this year on measures to address potential money laundering in Vancouver.

 

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