May 10, 2019 3:38 pm
Updated: May 10, 2019 3:59 pm

Justin Trudeau says B.C. money laundering report is ‘extremely alarming’

WATCH: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said a report looking into money laundering in B.C.'s real estate market "is a real problem that we are taking seriously." He outlines measures his government is taking to crack down on money laundering.

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EDMONTON – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says a report out of British Columbia on the extent that criminals are laundering their dirty money in Canada is extremely alarming and absolutely unacceptable.

The report, done by a B.C. government panel, estimates $5 billion was laundered through the province’s real-estate market last year out of $47 billion in Canada as a whole.

WATCH: Final report on money laundering in B.C. contains shocking numbers

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The report estimates that illegal cash increased the cost of buying a home in B.C. by five per cent.

Trudeau says the report shows money laundering is hurting everyday people by disrupting the housing market and it needs to be stopped.

READ MORE: German Report finds substantial money laundering in B.C.’s luxury car market

He says the federal government has strengthened audits on real-estate transactions, and federal Organized Crime Reduction Minister Bill Blair is working with provinces to do more.

Attorney General David Eby says money laundering is a national crisis.

Last year Global News obtained a study of more than 1,200 luxury real estate purchases in B.C.’s Lower Mainland in 2016 found that more than 10 per cent were tied to buyers with criminal records. And 95 per cent of those transactions were believed by police intelligence to be linked to Chinese crime networks.

While the study only looked at property purchases in 2016, an analysis by Global News suggests the same extended crime network may have laundered about $5 billion in Vancouver-area homes since 2012.

— With files from Global News

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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