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MoneyB.C.'s real estate professionals on what they need to stop money laundering in housing

10:25  16 april  2019
10:25  16 april  2019 Source:   cbc.ca

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Collectively, the group represents professionals working in B . C ' s real estate sector: real estate agents, notaries, appraisers and mortgage brokers. They began working on their own proposals to stop money laundering in the housing market after B . C . Attorney General David Eby commissioned a

B . C .' s real estate professionals on what they need to stop money laundering in housing . For that reason laundered money in Canada is much more valuable than dirty money elsewhere. And that is why money launderers are pleased to pay well over asking for high-priced real estate , where

B.C.'s real estate professionals on what they need to stop money laundering in housing© Mike McArthur/CBC Former RCMP deputy commissioner Peter German speaks to reporters about his latest findings on money laundering in B.C., as Attorney General David Eby looks on.

Key industry workers who make real estate deals happen in B.C. have submitted a number of recommendations to the provincial and federal governments.

The suggestions outline steps officials can take to protect the West Coast's housing market from becoming a hotbed for money laundering.

Collectively, the group represents professionals working in B.C's real estate sector: real estate agents, notaries, appraisers and mortgage brokers.

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The government of British Columbia unveiled new plans to crack down on money laundering on Thursday, seven months after a Globe The Ministry of Finance will additionally hold an expert panel on money laundering in real estate , and is set to produce a report on its findings by March next year.

Money laundering is the illegal process of making large amounts of money generated by a criminal activity, such as drug trafficking or terrorist funding, appear to have come from a legitimate source. The money from the criminal activity is considered dirty, and the process " launders " it to make it look clean.

They began working on their own proposals to stop money laundering in the housing market after B.C. Attorney General David Eby commissioned a second study from former RCMP deputy commissioner Peter German last September.

That review was tasked specifically with looking for evidence on whether B.C.'s real estate, luxury car and horse racing industries were being used for money laundering.

B.C.'s real estate professionals on what they need to stop money laundering in housing© Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press

"One thing has become clear," read a joint statement from the group on Monday.

"Given that real estate transactions involve multiple professionals, it will take a co-ordinated effort and collaboration with government to strengthen anti-money laundering measures in BC's real estate market."

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When asked if he believed money laundering had affected real estate prices, Mr. Eby said that The amount laundered through Lower Mainland casinos is unknown, but Mr. German has said that it was well in excess of “This is not having a major impact on the housing market,” he said in an interview.

5 recommendations from the real estate industry

  1. Accept only verified funds: accept funds only in forms that are verifiable through Canadian financial institutions.
  2. Mandatory anti-money laundering education: mandatory anti-money laundering education for all real estate professionals.
  3. Smart regulation: allow FINTRAC (Financial Transactions & Reports Analysis Centre of Canada) intelligence to be made available to additional regulatory authorities, including the B.C. Securities Commission.
  4. Ongoing engagement: governments and regulatory agencies better utilize on-the-ground experience of real estate professionals to develop compliance resources and test policy ideas.
  5. Timely and transparent reporting: FINTRAC to implement a framework to identify and report trends on a regular basis.

'This will go a long way'

The B.C. government is welcoming the recommendations from the real estate sector.

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Money laundering through real estate is much harder when these professions act with integrity and are required to conduct checks on the real owner and the source of funds. They should have access to all the information they need , and should face consequences for not flagging suspicious transactions.

Money laundering via real estate can work in many ways. Here is the most common underlying process Use of professional facilitators: Criminals may use a variety of third party professionals to assist with Money laundering in BC is an issue that affects us all. There are still many unknowns

"We are very pleased," said Eby and Finance Minister Carole James in a joint statement.

"This commitment by real estate professionals to collaborate and develop best practices will go a long way towards getting dirty money out of the real estate market,"

They went on to say they'll take the suggestions into consideration as they continue to review the second German report.

They're also pouring over a separate money laundering report done by an expert panel commissioned by the Finance Ministry.

"The steps being taken [by the group of organizations] are practical and valuable actions that will help guard against criminals using real estate to launder funds."

Eby has said cabinet will decide whether to launch a provincial public inquiry, once all the reports have been reviewed.

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