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How to stop money laundering within the real estate market

(iStock Photo)

Lawyer suggests setting up an inquiry panel in Vancouver

Says Canada's financial intelligence unit is underfunded and unaware of what's happening

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – How do you stop it from happening? Earlier this week, a report suggested banks and even the Canada Revenue Agency are taking a relaxed attitude when it came to policing money laundering in the Vancouver real estate market.

But a local lawyer has an idea on how to stop or at least slow down financial fraud. Christine Duhaime says we’ve all heard the stories before. “Instead of a relaxed money laundering reliance when it comes to people of certain wealth, or certain countries — a money laundering law is something we call high-rollers.”

She’d like to see an inquiry panel created in Vancouver, mandated by the federal government, to help tackle the issue. “Get all the stakeholders to comment on real estate practices and the purchase of Vancouver real estate and I think we would get somewhere with figuring out why we haven’t tackled it like we should and come up with some recommendations to make sure Vancouver is not a safe haven for financial crime. Give it powers. Appoint people officially. But there can also be provincial commissions, so if the federal government wasn’t interested in it, there could be a provincial commission which is a lot less onerous to set up and a lot quicker.”

Duhaime adds the situation is much worse locally than in the US where enforcement policies have real teeth. “In the United States maybe this happens, but never to the extent it happens in Canada. In the United States all financial institutions take financial crime really seriously and they have really rigorous anti-money laundering practices.”

She feels Canada’s financial intelligence unit is both highly underfunded and is largely unaware of the real problems with the real estate market.