ATTORNEY General David Eby on Wednesday released the Peter German report on anti-money laundering, and announced that the government has begun implementing the 48 recommendations in an effort to put an end to the flow of dirty money into British Columbia’s casinos.
“The German report paints a troubling picture of government that didn’t respond effectively to pervasive money laundering in B.C. casinos. German found they didn’t effectively detect, prevent or prosecute it – they turned a blind eye to it,” said Eby.
“The era of inaction and denial is over. We are moving immediately to get dirty money out of B.C. casinos.”
German found that large-scale, transnational money laundering has been occurring in B.C. casinos. He also highlighted how organized crime used the “Vancouver model” to take advantage of Lower Mainland casinos, as well as other sectors of the B.C. economy.
“The failure was not of one entity or person, but of the system. Fortunately, there are fixes which will prevent casinos from being used in the future as a tool for money laundering,” said German.
The report makes 48 recommendations, nine of which the government has implemented. The remainder of the recommendations are in the initial stages of implementation, or are being reviewed by government in preparation for further action.
“Money laundering isn’t a victimless crime. It’s linked to the opioid crisis, and deaths on our streets. It’s linked to skyrocketing housing costs that are pushing people out of our communities,” said Eby. “It will take time to undo the damage done to B.C.’s international reputation, but we aren’t waiting to get started.”
The German report was first received by government on March 31. It was reviewed for privacy concerns and accordingly, German sent government a revised version on June 19. As an independent reviewer, it was at all times within German’s absolute discretion as to the content of his report.
Read Peter German’s full report:
ANDREW Weaver, Leader of the B.C. Green Party, welcomed German’s independent review and said that his finding that large-scale transnational money laundering has been occurring in B.C. casinos and that B.C.’s laws and regulations have not kept pace with changing realities demonstrates the need for wholesale policy change.
“Dr. German’s report demonstrates systemic failure within the previous government to adapt our laws and regulations to changing realities,” said Weaver.
“We have seen significant growth and change, both in B.C. and globally, since many of our laws and regulations were first developed. Outdated policies have left our province vulnerable to exploitation as transnational criminal entities have become increasingly more sophisticated.
“It is encouraging to hear that recent government actions have led to a significant reduction in suspicious activity in B.C. casinos, and I am pleased that the Attorney General has accepted the recommendations. What is most important now is that government provide clear timelines for implementing the recommendations and is transparent with regards to progress.
“In particular, the recommendation that the Province undertake research into allegations of organized crime penetration of the real estate industry should be at the top of government’s agenda. British Columbians are looking for answers as to why our housing market spiralled out of control so quickly and if we are to develop effective solutions we must undertake a thorough investigation of this issue.
“Government cannot be asleep at the switch amidst such significant threats. Going forward, government must be significantly more proactive in modernizing our laws and regulations so that we are not faced with such a crisis again.”