VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The federal government has announced $10 million to help the RCMP prosecute money laundering after a special meeting in Vancouver of Canada’s finance and justice ministers to discuss the pervasive problem.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau says the ministers discussed the importance of prosecuting money launderers and the new funds will help co-ordinate information and hold criminals accountable.
“We are open-minded in terms of thinking about how we take next steps because we do need to get at the prosecution of the bad guys,” says Morneau.
Morneau says the ministers discussed making corporate ownership of real estate more transparent through beneficial ownership registries, though there was no final commitment from provinces on the topic.
He says Ottawa cannot simply create a framework for such registries, because there are issues around privacy and regulation, but he heard around the table that everyone was willing to take the next steps.
The federal government promised $160 million to help fight money laundering in the federal budget and Organized Crime Minister Bill Blair says Canada is building a new capacity to respond, investigate and prosecute the problem.
“Organized crime is motivated entirely by profit. And by working together, we can take that profit away from them,” says Blair. “And by doing that, we make all our communities safer and we protect the integrity of financial institutions and financial instruments in this country.”
Ontario has requested federal funding on par with British Columbia to fight money laundering, but Blair says they didn’t discuss specific allocations of resources at the meeting.
A report commissioned by B.C. says more than $5 billion worth of dirty money was laundered through real estate in the province last year alone.