Eby 'disappointed' after charges stayed in high-profile money laundering case
Published Thursday, December 13, 2018 3:58PM PST
British Columbia's attorney general says the provincial government is still "in the dark" after one of the largest anti-money laundering cases in Canadian history fell apart last month.
Federal prosecutors stayed charges against a Richmond-based company and its two principal operators on the eve of trial.
At an event on Thursday, David Eby said he was "disappointed" by the development, adding that province still isn't sure how such a high-profile case could fall through so suddenly.
"It is a crisis for our province. I think it is a matter of concern across the province and across the country, increasingly, and it is a disturbing signal that a prosecution of this magnitude collapses shortly before going to trial," he said in an interview with CTV News at the time the charges were stayed.
Eby reiterated that view Thursday, adding that the news has contributed to concerns over Canada's ability to combat dirty money.
"I still remain concerned that British Columbia and Canada simply do not have the resources or capacity to prosecute and convict those involved in transnational organized crime and money laundering, which apparently the RCMP believes has infiltrated our real estate market in a serious way," he said.
Eby said the province's lawyers were in court this week to resist the application of the accused in the file to have millions of dollars returned to them earlier than the law requires.
The province has also been in touch with the federal government, specifically Minister of Border Security and Crime Reduction Bill Blair, who was recently tasked by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to assist B.C. in its anti-money laundering efforts.
"He shares our view that the situation is unacceptable and he's pledged to work with us to address it and I believe he's quite serious about that," Eby said.
The federal RCMP started investigating money laundering at B.C. casinos in 2015. That led to charges being laid against Silver International and its operators in 2017.
Mounties have said they are reviewing their own actions in relation to the case's collapse, and B.C. is reviewing the case with its own lawyers while calling for clarity on the matter from Ottawa.
The news comes as the province awaits a report by former RCMP commission Peter German into dirty money in the real estate industry, luxury cars and horse racing—the second phase of a wide-ranging fact-finding mission into the province's dirty money problem that began by looking at B.C. casinos. The results of that report are available here.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Bhinder Sajan