PETER German has provided Attorney General David Eby with further interim recommendations on money laundering in B.C. casinos that are related to federal jurisdiction, ahead of Eby’s appearance before the federal finance committee.
As part of the ongoing review into anti-money laundering practices in B.C. casinos, German provided recommendations that Eby will share at a meeting before the federal government’s ongoing public consultation regarding amendments to the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act.
“Through agencies like the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), Revenue Canada, and the federal RCMP, the Government of Canada has a major role to play in combating money laundering,” said Eby. “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.”
Eby will appear before the committee in Ottawa on Tuesday (March 27) to discuss, among other specific matters, German’s findings related to:
- Information sharing between law enforcement and FINTRAC: Currently, law enforcement officials do not work within FINTRAC, due to privacy concerns. This means that Canadian police and FINTRAC may not know which agency has, or needs, what information until a proactive disclosure or a request for information is made. Any opportunity to broaden the use of the intelligence housed within FINTRAC would be a benefit.
- Geographic targeting orders for auto dealers: The criminal lifestyle is often attracted to expensive consumer goods, such as luxury cars, and due to their high value, these items can also be used to reintroduce illegal cash to the legitimate economy. Currently, there is no tracking by government of cash purchases for luxury items. As Vancouver is Canada’s luxury car capital, a geographic targeting order could require the submission of suspicious transaction reports and large cash transaction reports by motor-vehicle dealers in Greater Vancouver, but not in other parts of the country. However, to avoid displacing local buyers to other jurisdictions, another option may be to provide a reporting threshold higher than $10,000 for these industries.
- Resourcing for police: Police must have adequate resources to deal with leads on illegal activity provided by FINTRAC. In 2012, the RCMP eliminated its national Proceeds of Crime and Commercial Crime Sections, in favour of a new task force orientation to investigations. Although the RCMP is rebuilding its financial crime expertise, the gap in federal policing in this area between 2012 and 2017 shifted responsibility for white-collar crime to provincial and municipal police forces, which generally did not have the resources or expertise to take on these complex files.
German’s independent review of money laundering policies and practices in B.C.’s gambling industry began in late September 2017, with two interim recommendations implemented to date.
- The House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance meets to examine and enquire into all matters referred to it by the House of Commons, which may include pre-budget consultations, briefing sessions by departmental officials on federal programs, and consideration of proposed legislation.
- FINTRAC is Canada’s financial intelligence unit. Its mandate is to facilitate the detection, prevention and deterrence of money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities, while ensuring the protection of personal information under its control.
- B.C.’s Attorney General is responsible for gambling policy, enforcement and the Province’s responsible gambling program, as well as oversight of the BC Lottery Corporation.
- German is a former deputy commissioner of both the RCMP and Correctional Service Canada, and is the author of Canada’s leading anti-money-laundering law textbook, Proceeds of Crime and Money Laundering.