Ottawa is set to hear about what is to be done about a money laundering scandal centred in Richmond.
B.C. Attorney-General David Eby is taking new recommendations from the province’s independent anti-money laundering review to the nation’s capital.
The recommendations from Peter German, a former deputy commissioner of the RCMP appointed by the B.C. government to review anti-money laundering practices in B.C. casinos, call for more police officers with financial crime expertise and better sharing of information on suspicious money transactions.
Eby will share the recommendations at a meeting Tuesday of the House of Commons standing committee on finance, which is receiving input on amendments to the Proceeds of Crime and Terrorist Financing Act.
The recommendations also call for the introduction of tracking by the government of cash purchases of luxury vehicles, targeted in particular at Greater Vancouver.
German recommends giving law enforcement officials better access to information stored with the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), Canada’s chief finance intelligence unit. Currently, law enforcement officials don’t have direct access because of privacy concerns. Casinos, banks, securities dealers, real estate brokers and accountants must report suspicious transactions to FINTRAC.
German has also called for more policing resources to tackle financial crime, noting that a gap in federal policing between 2012 and 2017, when the RCMP eliminated its national Proceeds of Crime and Commercial Crime Sections, have shifted responsibility for white-collar crime to provincial and municipal police forces, which generally do not have the resources or expertise to take on these complex files.
“Through agencies like FINTRAC, Revenue Canada, and the federal RCMP, the Government of Canada has a major role to play in combating money laundering,” Eby said in a statement. “British Columbia’s insight on this pressing issue will allow the federal committee to better understand the unique challenges and impacts that we face on this side of the Rockies. We must all be better equipped to take action in the fight against criminal gangs profiting from crime.”
The B.C. government launched the German review in September over concerns about Chinese high-roller VIPs purchasing gambling chips with massive wads of cash that could be “proceeds of crime.”
The concerns were outlined in a confidential report commissioned by the B.C. Lotteries Corp. from auditor MNP LLP that found that $13.5 million in $20 bills had being accepted in the River Rock Casino in July 2015, reported by Postmedia as part of a rolling investigation into money laundering in casinos.
The final report from German, who is also a lawyer and author of the definitive textbook Proceeds of Crime and Money Laundering, is due at the end of this week.
German’s other recommendations have included putting provincial regulatory staff in B.C’s biggest casinos around the clock. German has also called for tightening of restrictions on cash that can flow into casinos, with operators being required to file a source-of-funds declaration for cash and cash equivalents greater than $10,000.