B.C. launches anonymous tipline on dirty money in real estate and other markets

Those with insider knowledge on money laundering now have a safe way to share information with province

People with inside information about shady goings-on in real estate and other luxury sectors now have a way to share it anonymously with the B.C. government’s investigative team.

A new online tip portal was launched November 18 to give B.C. residents a safe avenue to report what they know about money laundering in the real estate, horse racing and luxury automobile markets.

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Attorney-General David Eby, who is leading the money laundering crackdown, said in a media statement, “British Columbians want their government to crack down on money laundering, wherever it takes place. We agree and we also believe that British Columbians can help. That’s why we’re providing people in B.C. with a secure and anonymous way to share what they know.”

Among other areas, Eby is hoping that people will use the tip portal to expose:

• money laundering in the real estate sector connected to criminal enterprises in B.C. or elsewhere;

• the use of lawyers’ trust accounts to mask sources of funds in real estate transactions;

• money laundering in the construction industry, including abuse of builders’ liens; and

• any other conduct in which there may be an identifiable link between organized crime and real estate transactions in B.C.

The launch of the tip portal follows a call from the B.C. government for the public’s insights and suggested solutions on money laundering in real estate, in a public consultation launched November 9.

Both initiatives are part of the part of the province’s official review of the role dirty money plays in the housing market and other sectors, following a damning report by Dr Peter German, who is now working on a follow-up investigative report.

In addition, an expert panel, led by Maureen Maloney, public policy professor at Simon Fraser University and former B.C. deputy attorney general, will consider all public submissions and tips to incorporate into its own final report. Both reports are due in March 2019.

Members of the public wishing to submit information or concerns about instances of possible money laundering in B.C. real estate, horse racing and luxury car sales can visit: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/moneylaunderingtipportal. Submissions will be accepted until 4pm on January 31, 2019.

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