The first annual white collar crime week in British Columbia?
It ought to be, after the NDP B.C. government released long-awaited reports into money laundering in real estate and luxury cars, and a top executive of China’s biggest multinational company made another court appearance in Vancouver.
Meng Wanzhou was allowed by a B.C. Supreme Court judge on May 8 to move from her $5 million Dunbar house to her $13.3 million Shaughnessy mansion. The Huawei chief financial officer, charged by the U.S. with fraud, will return to court Sept. 23, for a hearing on evidence gathered about her Dec. 1 arrest at Vancouver International Airport. Still no date for the extradition hearing. Her four lawyers say she is innocent and the victim of abuse of process.
Coming sooner, however, is a decision by the NDP cabinet on whether to hold a public inquiry into money laundering in B.C. In an interview on this edition of theBreaker.news Podcast, Attorney General David Eby says that could come as soon as the May 15 cabinet meeting.
“I know it’s a very important decision for many British Columbians, there is a lot of people that want us to make a decision one way or another and move on, and so certainly my colleagues understand that very clearly, as do I.”
Eby released money laundering expert Peter German’s findings on luxury cars and real estate on May 7 and 9, respectively.
German found a thriving underground market for luxury car exports to China, which exploded by more than 4,000% in the last five years. Exporters even benefitted from provincial sales tax rebates. German also found young supercar buyers had brought bags of cash into dealerships. Unlike casinos, there is no requirement for dealers to report the large cash transactions to federal authorities.
German’s investigation of money laundering in real estate was released the same day as an expert panel on money laundering in housing. Former senior bureaucrat Maureen Maloney’s report estimated $7.4 billion was laundered in the B.C. economy last year, with $5 billion of that in real estate.
Eby told host Bob Mackin that he is also looking at establishing an anti-corruption policing and prosecution squad similar to Quebec’s, but continues to point to federal authorities not keeping up with white collar crime. For more than two decades, B.C. has not had a dedicated police force in the ports of Vancouver, Surrey and Prince Rupert.
“It’s hard to imagine that we’re not putting a focus on what’s coming in and going out of our ports with a dedicated police team,” Eby said.
Plus commentaries and Pacific Rim and Pacific Northwest headlines.
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