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Premier makes no immediate commitment on public inquiry into money laundering

Last Updated May 10, 2019 at 11:58 am PDT

BC Premier John Horgan in Vancouver Sept 29, 2017 (Martin MacMahon, NEWS 1130 Photo)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – There is no immediate decision from Premier John Horgan on whether or not the province will hold an inquiry into B.C.’s money laundering problem.

This comes a day after we learned more than $7 billion was washed clean in this province by criminals last year.

Horgan says he’s aware of the public anger surrounding this issue. However, when asked if this week’s explosive reports revealing the scale of the problem will now mean an inquiry, Horgan would only say that cabinet will discuss the report next week.

“So it’s not just a reputational issue, as you say, the public is outraged that this type of activity could be taking place without the former government taking any meaningful action to stop it,” he said.

He believes the reports also make clear the need for FINTRAC — the federal agency monitoring large financial transactions — to be up to the task.

The reports were released on Thursday and found that $7.4 billion was laundered in B.C. in 2018, including $5 billion in real estate. That is believed to have resulted in a five per cent increase in home prices.

One of the reports was conducted by former senior RCMP officer Peter German, who said “If you’re looking at a concentrated area — where there’s been a lot of flipping, a lot of movement, a lot of unusual sales, a lot of over-market sales, a lot of private mortgages — then you start to wonder. One can only imagine the impact on residential housing in that area.”

Attorney General David Eby has described the recent findings as shocking.

-With files from Liza Yuzda and Denise Wong