VICTORIA, B.C. — The two reports into money laundering in B.C. directly support the value of a public inquiry, reinforcing the B.C. Green caucus’ call for government to act.
“We saw in German’s report a direct rationale for a public inquiry. Namely, that it would improve public awareness, play a crucial role in fault finding, and would help to develop full recommendations,” said B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver. “The B.C. Green caucus has been calling for a public inquiry for months, as have thousands of British Columbians. It is time for this government to start a public inquiry so that the public can get the answers it deserves and B.C. can move forward.
“Today, we discovered a much fuller picture of money laundering going on in our province. It is no surprise, but we can now be confident that illicit money has been influencing Vancouver’s housing market.
“One of the key findings of both reports was the issue of beneficial ownership. This is something I have been raising in the legislature under both the BC Liberal and BC NDP governments as a huge loophole in our system that should have been fixed long ago. Recent steps by government to address beneficial ownership through establishing a registry are encouraging, but we need to go further and end the use of beneficial ownership as a tax avoidance tool.
“We also saw that there are many sectors of our economy that have lax financial regulation, leaving them vulnerable to money laundering: from bags of cash being used to buy luxury vehicles, pianos and even to pay post-secondary fees. To deal with all of this the report recommended a ‘system-wide reset’ in criminal prosecution.
“With each new finding and each new report, we learn more about how our province has been exploited by criminals and how the systems and people charged with protecting us have failed over and over again. It is time to remove this investigation from any possible political influence, to get to the bottom of what happened, and to ensure this assault never happens again. British Columbians deserve to have their public interests protected and their trust in government restored.”
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