Vancouver penthouses, ski chalets at Whistler, and holiday retreats in the Gulf Islands are among the thousands of properties identified in a dirty money probe that estimates C$7.4 billion (S$7.5 billion) was laundered through the western Canadian province of British Columbia (BC) previous year.
According to estimates in the report, assembled by an expert panel tasked by the B.C. government with studying the impacts of money laundering, about $10 billion was laundered in Alberta in 2015 - roughly a quarter of the $41 billion laundered in all of Canada that year.
Previous reports had revealed how casinos for years were accepting millions in cash often stuffed into hockey bags and suitcases, how gangsters paid auto leases with proceeds of crime, and most recently, how a thriving grey market in Vancouver-to-China luxury vehicle exports sent millions of dollars in sales-tax refunds to overseas buyers.
Toronto's skyline (public domain)"Canada has a very large money-laundering problem, predominantly sourced from foreign countries", says the report.
Michael Lee, Opposition Liberal critic for the attorney general, issued a statement Thursday saying the government now needs to turn its attention to action.
The report said the amount of money laundered in Canada increased from $37.8 billion in 2011 to over $41 billion in 2015 - consistently representing about two per cent of GDP.More news: Final Fantasy 7 Remake Is Still an Episodic Game
The provincial government is planning to establish a public registry of beneficial property owners by next year that it says will peel back the anonymity that enables such activity.
Eby and Federal Organized Crime Reduction Minister Bill Blair have met in recent months to discuss strategies to fight money laundering.
Eby said B.C.'s cabinet is now deciding whether to call a public inquiry.
Finance Minister Carole James said all the recommendations look critical, but the government wants to ensure it's prioritizing the most important ones, while also noting that action already underway in the legislature on some solutions.
That federal body, however, doesn't share information with B.C., according to German, who also noted there are no RCMP officers in the money laundering unit now actively investigating cases.More news: Billionaire Bezos Unveils Moon Lander Mockup, Embraces Trump’s Lunar Timetable
The attorney general said the government will move to plug tax loopholes to prevent the provincial sales tax rebate that cost the province nearly $85-million dollars since 2013.
The authors, led by panel chair Maureen Maloney, a Simon Fraser professor, acknowledged that it is impossible to actually measure how much money laundering takes place in a given jurisdiction.
Those are the latest findings from a newly-released report today, from BC's Expert Panel on Money Laundering in Real Estate.
The B.C. Real Estate Association, the body that serves 23,000 realtors in B.C., said in April that it would join with four other agencies to keep proceeds of crime out of real estate.
The other participating organizations include the Appraisal Institute of Canada, BC Notaries Association, Canada Mortgage Brokers Association and the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.
International organizations such as the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund use a "consensus range" that says about "two to five per cent of global gross domestic product" is related to money laundering.More news: Tlaib: Palestinians created ‘safe haven’ for Jews after the Holocaust
They also recommended making anti-money laundering education mandatory for all real estate professionals.