No federal RCMP resources dedicated to B.C. money laundering investigations: report
Published Monday, April 8, 2019 1:53PM PDT
Last Updated Monday, April 8, 2019 5:19PM PDT
A highly-anticipated second report looking into money laundering found there are no federal RCMP officers dedicated to criminal money laundering investigations in British Columnia.
Peter German, a former high-ranking Mountie has concluded a study into dirty money’s links to real estate, luxury car sales and horse racing.
As part of the report, German was asked to look into why so few money laundering cases have led to prosecutions. He says when he asked the RCMP how many officers are actively investigating money-laundering he found the team was understaffed.
At the federal level, 26 positions are funded, according to German’s report. That includes 25 regular members and one civilian. Of those, 11 are staffed. When looking at the five officers who are investigating – all of them were were referring cases to the provincial civil forfeiture office.
Attorney General David Eby commissioned the report and called the findings startling and disturbing.
“What is happening is very little, if anything,” Eby said at a press conference to discuss the findings.
There are officers looking at the criminal activity though they are provincial resources. German said that means they concern themselves with illegal activity happening at casinos.
“That is the issue you've got a provincial unit dealing with casino money laundering and you've got nothing else out there right now,” said German in Victoria.
German said money laundering is a much bigger problem. While he said the information from the RCMP is recent, he believes staffing decreased after the RCMP restructured some of its divisions in 2012-2013.
Ottawa recently announced funds to tackle money laundering as part of Budget 2019. Eby insists the report shows why a big chunk of that money should come to B.C.
“We've been very responsive to their concerns,” said Bill Blair, the federal minister in charge of reducing organized crime. He added, “The investments that we are now making I think it quite adequately and appropriately is addressing those deficiencies going back to more than a decade ago.”
Eby also authorized the release of one chapter of German’s latest report. German’s previous report titled "Dirty Money" was released in April 2018 and focused on money laundering in lower mainland casinos.