Thursday, May 09, 2019

The Cost of Dirty Money

British Columbia's oh-so-Liberal government earned a reputation for looking the other way on certain criminal activity, especially money-laundering. That's Asian money-laundering. Dirty money spirited out of Asia, mainly China, and laundered through purchases of high-priced real estate, luxury cars, even government-licensed gambling casinos.

Liberals do take a "grown up" approach to corporate or white collar crime, don't they.

Now, for all its flaws, British Columbia's NDP government has made headway in exposing how foreign money, billions of dollars worth, is regularly laundered in this province.

A little over 30 years ago Vancouver hosted a world's fair, Expo 86. That began the end of a once great city.  Money and people flowed in from all directions but mainly from China. Real estate prices went through the roof. The house I bought in the 80s for $175,000 is today selling for $2.5 million, lot value. I sure missed out on that. Neighbourhoods were destroyed. The kids who were raised and educated in those neighbourhoods no longer can afford to live there.

An expert panel looking into money laundering in B.C.’s real estate market has found an estimated $5 billion in “dirty money” was laundered through the province’s housing market in 2018.

“Our housing market should be used for housing people, not for laundering the proceeds of crime,” Finance Minister Carole James said.

“The amount of money being laundered in B.C. and through real estate is much more than anyone predicted.” 
Including luxury cars and horse racing, the panel estimated $7.4 billion in money was laundered through B.C. in 2018. The panel estimates $47 billion was laundered in Canada last year.
“Wealthy criminals and those attempting to evade taxes have had the run of our province for too long, to the point that they are now distorting our economy, hurting families looking for housing and impacting those who have lost loved ones due to opioid overdose,” Attorney General David Eby said.
The federal government could have and should have done more, a lot more. British Columbia is just beginning to pursue seizure remedies.

$47 billion of assets bought through money laundering. Imagine even half of that in the federal treasury. There is no end of good uses we could find for that sort of revenue stream.


Anonymous said...

Yes...everyone could have a reasonably priced home for all that hidden money.

The Mound of Sound said...

It's a lot of money, especially Canada-wide. Makes you wonder why government isn't seizing all those assets?

Trailblazer said...

Started with Gordon Campbell who was a developer .
His brother has a show on CKNW and he is upset that the real estate prices are down in Vancouver!!
I would like to know just how much the Campbells made on BC Rail real estate!!


Anonymous said...

I’m astounded....not a word about the role of the POLICE in this money laundering boondoggle. Is that activity not a crime in BC? Or are the gumshoes just too busy arresting pipeline protesters? Mac

Hugh said...

So Govt incompetence dealing with money-laundering has resulted in unaffordable housing, crime and a drug crisis that has killed thousands. Way to go. Maybe try a bit harder.

Anonymous said...

Next thing you know we will be eating dirt.