•   
  •   
  •   

MoneyDirty money is driving up Toronto real estate prices, report says

12:30  21 march  2019
12:30  21 march  2019 Source:   thestar.com

Melania Trump 'mistook former female Australia FM for partner'

Melania Trump 'mistook former female Australia FM for partner' Melania Trump 'mistook former female Australia FM for partner'

Toronto ’s real - estate market welcomes criminals, giving them an easy way to invest dirty money and driving up housing prices for regular people “Our laws and regulations are full of cracks that can be exploited by criminals, and they appear to be doing so in growing numbers,” the report says .

That drives up prices . Not to mention the continued movement of people from small and medium population centers to big cities. There is dirty money but to act like that is whats propping up the market is nonsense. They jump from one excuse to the next. First it was foreign buyers.

Dirty money is driving up Toronto real estate prices, report says© Provided by Toronto Star Newspapers Limited Adam Ross, author of the new Transparency International Canada report that says dirty money is driving up Toronto real estate prices.

Toronto’s real-estate market welcomes criminals, giving them an easy way to invest dirty money and driving up housing prices for regular people, according to a report published today by Transparency International Canada.

“Our laws and regulations are full of cracks that can be exploited by criminals, and they appear to be doing so in growing numbers,” the report says. “Domestic criminals have known for decades that Canada is ‘la la land’ for financial crime, but word has spread internationally too. … Canadian real estate has attracted the attention (and money of dubious origin) of corrupt government officials and organized crime syndicates from across the globe.”

'This is big money': New cities promise a smarter, greener future but will reality match the pitch?

'This is big money': New cities promise a smarter, greener future but will reality match the pitch? Entire new cities are springing up across the Middle East, Latin America, Africa and Asia as powerful economic drivers for the developing world. These ambitious new mega-projects are awe-inspiring, but what kind of future do they really hold?

Dirty money is driving up Toronto real estate prices , report says . Toronto ’s real - estate market welcomes criminals, giving them an easy way to invest dirty money and driving up housing prices for regular people, according to a report published today by Transparency International Canada.

A new report from the B.C. government reveals that more than five billion dollars in dirty money was laundered through real estate in 2018. Wendy Mesley

In the federal budget released this week, the government announced measures to combat money laundering through property in British Columbia, but ignored the Toronto market.

Transparency International Canada studied all residential property transactions in the GTA since 2008 and discovered more than $20 billion in anonymous money entered the real estate market without any oversight or due diligence.

During this period, more than 50,000 homes were purchased by corporate entities, which can easily hide their real owners behind straw men directors — people paid a nominal fee to put their name on corporate documents. More than two-thirds of the money used to buy these residences came from untraceable sources: $9.8 billion was in cash and $10.4 billion was in the form of mortgages from unregulated lenders, which aren’t subject to anti-money laundering reporting rules.

The REAL reason behind Meghan Markle's mass staff exodus

The REAL reason behind Meghan Markle's mass staff exodus After watching several of Meghan Markle's key staffers unexpectedly quit over the last few months, we had to wonder what was going on - but now, it seems we might have an answer. In November, it was reported several staff members assigned to the Duchess had been been dropping like flies since their May wedding, most notably being Meghan's new recruit, a personal assistant named Melissa. Next came the shock report that long-time royal staffer Samantha Cohen had also handed in her notice after 17 years of working with the royals.

“ Money launderers don’t look at borders, they look for opportunities,” Carole James says . Across Canada, criminals have been able to buy property with dirty money by masking their identities behind numbered companies, and this has helped drive up real estate prices , especially in Vancouver and

The real estate association says even if dirty money is entering the market, it's not enough to be driving up prices . Cameron Muir, chief economist for the BC Real Estate Association, acknowledged that money laundering is a concern, but said he thinks concerns are being overstated

“A worrying amount slips past regulators who don’t really know who owns what, nor how much is being used for money laundering and tax evasion,” states the report, titled “Opacity: Why criminals love Canadian real estate (and how to fix it).”

“For individuals looking to buy real estate undetected, corporations are extremely effective camouflage. Companies can register title to property in Ontario without disclosing any information about their directors, owners or even their country of registration. All that needs to be disclosed is the company’s name and an address — a post-office box or a lawyer’s address will suffice.

“In cases where the company cannot be located, it is practically impossible for the police or tax authorities to investigate suspicious activity,” states the report.

While it’s impossible to quantify how much dirty money has been invested in the property market, and to what extent that criminal activity has driven up housing prices, the report states “it is clear that real estate is attractive to criminals with money to launder, and basic economics suggests that prices increase in response to added demand.”

Budget's real estate top-up could push up the price of cheaper homes: Don Pittis

Budget's real estate top-up could push up the price of cheaper homes: Don Pittis Wondering how the government's budget measures will affect the housing market? You're not alone.

A separate report titled “ Dirty Money 2” was also released Thursday. Soon, cryptocurrencies will join the must- report group, but the authors said it is too easy for money to flow from one “ Dirty Money 2” addressed what German referred to previously as the Vancouver Model, showing how massive

Dirty money is driving up Toronto real estate prices , report says . The CRA uses a number of risk-assessment tools to flag potential tax cheats, but one of the biggest red flags comes from people whose reported income does not match their lifestyle, particularly if they have low income and a

Average housing prices in the GTA have more than doubled in the last decade, and the impacts have been felt far and wide: Condos sit empty, or are rented out night-by-night on Airbnb, contributing to a shortage of rental housing. Rising prices push workers out of the city and large mortgages have driven household debt to record levels, according to Statistics Canada.

The Star has reported extensively on how Canada has developed a reputation as a tax haven and a destination for dirty money. In the Panama Papers, Canadian companies were sold by the now-defunct law firm Mossack Fonseca as vehicles to avoid tax.

This activity was facilitated by a large number of loopholes in Canada’s anti-money laundering rules. Getting real estate professionals to comply with the law has also been a challenge.

A Star investigation published last year revealed that Canadian real-estate agents submitted suspicious transaction reports in less than 0.008 per cent of property sales made between 2013 and 2017.

“While the proceeds of crime can be laundered through any strand of the economy, there are several characteristics of the real-estate sector that make it particularly attractive for money laundering,” states the report, listing “weak regulation, lax enforcement, and the ability to hide in plain sight through anonymous ownership structures.”

How to avoid becoming victim to real estate fraud: Ask Joe

How to avoid becoming victim to real estate fraud: Ask Joe How can buyers and sellers avoid becoming victims of real estate-related fraud? There are many types of real estate-related crimes, and one of the most common is mortgage fraud — a fitting subject right now during Fraud Prevention Month. 

Blair says money laundering a concern across country, backs B.C. in money laundering inquiry. The staggering amount of money being laundered through Toronto ’s real - estate market has been highlighted in the past, including a report from Transparency Canada that found up to billion may

Dirty money is driving up Toronto real estate prices , report says . Toronto police conduct ‘far too many’ strip searches, says damning report from Ontario’s police complaints director.

The report found that anonymous owners are concentrated in the high-end luxury market, far more likely to buy homes with cash, and when they do take out a mortgage, they rely on alternative lenders, which are not subject to the same anti-money laundering rules as banks.

While only 4 per cent of GTA residential property transactions involved a corporation, the report found the more expensive the house, the more likely it has an anonymous owner. Only 3.5 per cent of residential properties bought for under $1 million have corporate owners. But 54 per cent of homes purchased for $7 million — $10 million are owned through a company.

A Star investigation into the Four Seasons Private Residences Toronto found that nearly one-quarter of the units in the Yorkville luxury condo development were held by private corporations.

Anonymous owners are more than three times as likely as individuals to pay for their homes in cash, which “enables a buyer to avoid the scrutiny of financial institutions,” the report says.

While alternative lenders only account for 3 per cent of mortgages taken out by individuals, they provide 49 per cent of mortgages held by corporations, which means these loans were not subject to reporting rules, nor the federal stress test designed to ensure the loan can be repaid.

Pence claims total vindication in Mueller report

Pence claims total vindication in Mueller report WASHINGTON - The Latest on President Donald Trump and the special counsel's Russia investigation. (all times Eastern time): 8 p.m. Vice-President Mike Pence says special counsel Robert Mueller's conclusions are a "total vindication" of President Donald Trump and "our campaign" and "should be welcomed by every American who cherishes the truth and the integrity of our elections." Pence calls it a "great day for America," Trump and the administration. Attorney General William Barr declared Sunday that Mueller's long investigation found no evidence that Trump's campaign "conspired or co-ordinated" with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Potential solutions for Canada and Ontario are already being implemented in real estate markets around the world, where it is becoming more difficult to anonymously own property.

In 2016, the United States Treasury Department started tracking real-estate purchases by shell companies in Manhattan and Miami. In the months that followed, cash purchases by corporations dropped 70 to 95 per cent, and the monitoring program has now been expanded to six other areas including San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Antonio.

British Columbia has plans to establish a public registry of the real owners behind companies that purchase real estate.

The U.K. has proposed a ban on real-estate ownership through shell companies. It already has a public registry of the real owners of every company incorporated in the country, and will soon extend that registry to include the many island tax havens under its jurisdiction, including Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands.

In January next year, all EU members will have to make their corporate ownership registries public.

In Canada, the provincial finance ministers have pledged to collect more information — without making it public — on who owns corporations and make that information available to authorities, though there is no timeline on when that will happen and little urgency to get it done.

In the meantime, anonymous ownership is still a reality in Toronto’s property market, the Transparency International Canada report states, attracting dirty money from far and wide.

“By hiding behind companies, trusts or straw men, criminals can enjoy the spoils of their crimes in plain sight while making it exceptionally difficult for law enforcement agencies to detect, investigate and prove their ultimate ownership.”

Marco Chown Oved is a Toronto-based investigative reporter. Follow him on Twitter: @marcooved

Read more

What It’s Like to Grow Up With More Money Than You’ll Ever Spend.
Abigail Disney, heiress to the Disney fortune, on being raised with wealth.

Topical videos:

usr: 3
This is interesting!