Groups collaborate on anti-money laundering in B.C. real estate

VICTORIA — Five agencies are banding together to help fight money laundering in British Columbia's real estate industry.

B.C. Attorney General David Eby and Finance Minister Carole James released a joint statement saying the collaboration will go a long way towards getting dirty money out of the real estate market and protecting consumers.

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The B.C. Real Estate Association says in a news release the groups commit to sharing best practices to help keep proceeds of crime out of the economy and ensuring the public has full confidence in B.C.'s real estate market.

The other participating organizations include the Appraisal Institute of Canada, BC Notaries Association, Canada Mortgage Brokers Association and the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.

The groups have committed to share those best practices, including accepting only verified funds and making anti-money laundering education mandatory for all real estate agents.

An international anti-money laundering agency said last year that organized criminals were laundering about $1 billion annually in the province and the B.C. government is now reviewing two reports on the crime.

The joint statement from Eby and James says the actions by the organizations "will go a long way towards getting dirty money out of the real estate market, protecting consumers and helping industry professionals improve their knowledge and regulatory compliance."

The Real Estate Council of B.C., the disciplinary body for agents and brokerages, announced last week that it had agreed to share information with Canada's financial intelligence unit, or FINTRAC, in an attempt to fight money laundering.

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