Money: The disturbing question of why Canada's done so little to end money laundering: Don Pittis - - PressFrom - Canada
  •   
  •   
  •   

MoneyThe disturbing question of why Canada's done so little to end money laundering: Don Pittis

11:27  21 may  2019
11:27  21 may  2019 Source:   cbc.ca

Weak rules have made Canada a magnet for money laundering: Don Pittis

Weak rules have made Canada a magnet for money laundering: Don Pittis A C.D.Howe Institute report says that in Canada 99 per cent of money launderers are never punished. But beneficial ownership rules and prison penalties could change that.

© Don Pittis /CBC Experts say some of the money helping to keep Canada ' s real estate market hot has come from money laundering , but after it is clean, money is just money , creating businesses and jobs. Despite commendable investigative work in B.C. lately on money laundering , experts say the

The disturbing question of why Canada ’ s done so little to end money laundering : Don Pittis . Toggle secondary navigation.

The disturbing question of why Canada's done so little to end money laundering: Don Pittis© Shutterstock There's been renewed attention on money laundering in B.C., but it's been an open secret for decades that Canada makes it easy to launder money.

There is a principal of financial investigation so old that it's often used in its original Latin: Cui bono?

The question of who benefits, as the term translates, implies that, if you are trying to solve any crime — particularly one involving money — you must look for who stood to profit.

The disturbing question of why Canada's done so little to end money laundering: Don Pittis© Don Pittis/CBC Experts say some of the money helping to keep Canada's real estate market hot has come from money laundering, but after it is clean, money is just money, creating businesses and jobs.

Despite commendable investigative work in B.C. lately on money laundering, experts say the fact that it has been a problem in Canada is an old, open secret.

Bags of cash, luxury car export scheme described in B.C. money laundering report

Bags of cash, luxury car export scheme described in B.C. money laundering report VICTORIA — An independent report suggests organized criminals are laundering money through British Columbia's luxury car sector and some are even receiving tax rebates from the province for the transactions. The B.C. government tasked former RCMP deputy commissioner Peter German in September to identify potential links between criminal enterprises and real estate, horse racing and luxury vehicle industries. Attorney General David Eby called the findings released Tuesday "disturbing confirmation" that money laundering is a problem in B.C. that goes beyond the previously identified channel of casinos.

( Don Pittis /CBC). Just as with any other inrush of cash to the Canadian economy, that money went into new businesses that paid taxes. Don Pittis was a forest firefighter, and a ranger in Canada ' s High Arctic islands. After moving into journalism, he was principal business reporter for Radio

The question of who benefits, as the term translates, implies that, if you are trying to solve any crime — particularly one involving money — you must look for ‘Maytag’ of money laundering . “All available evidence suggests that international drug barons view Canada as a safe place to launder their illegal

As someone tweeted following a story on the C.D.Howe report by Transparency International's Kevin Comeau, Canadian money laundering was not exactly "new news."

'Maytag' of money laundering

"All available evidence suggests that international drug barons view Canada as a safe place to launder their illegal cash," said a Maclean's magazine story cited in the tweet. "In fact, DEA agents laughingly refer to Canada as the 'Maytag' of the money-laundering industry."

It was definitely not fresh news. That Maclean's piece was published about 30 years ago, in October 1989.

And experts say that while Canada has toughened up its laws, especially in banking, every time the government has tried to crack down, the potential beneficiaries of that flow of money have pushed back.

Laundered money funded $5.3B in B.C. real estate purchases in 2018, report reveals

Laundered money funded $5.3B in B.C. real estate purchases in 2018, report reveals Two reports on money laundering point to numerous gaps allowing criminals entry to the province's housing market.

Why the Canadian economy seems divorced from traditional signals: Don Pittis : The disturbing question of Despite the latest flurry of money laundering stories, it' s not a new problem. Don Pittis wonders: Why our economic problems are so hard to fix? Recent job numbers weren't good

Don Pittis was a forest firefighter, and a ranger in Canada ' s High Arctic islands. After moving into journalism, he was principal business reporter for Radio Television Hong Kong before the handover to China. He has produced and reported for the CBC in Saskatchewan and Toronto and the BBC in.

Margaret Beare, author of the 2007 book Money Laundering in Canada: The Chasing of Dirty and Dangerous Dollars, says we are seeing something similar in the latest fight to impose legislation that actually works.

"The current publicity re B.C. laundering shows that a step like insisting on exposure of 'real' owners is resisted, regardless of the evidence that it is essential in most corporate or financial dealings," Beare said in an email conversation last week.

There have been proposals that anybody buying real estate in B.C. will have to reveal the beneficial owner, but not everyone's in favour of that move.

"We still have the exception of lawyers from mandatory reporting and they still can take fees from dirty money!" adds Beare, a professor at York University's Osgoode Hall law faculty.

For governments, one of the political difficulties of deciding to crack down is that the inflow of money — estimated in the recent report by Maureen Maloney using the gravity model at about $50 billion a year nationally — boosts many of the things governments like to boost.

Why criminals look to Canada to launder their money through real estate

Why criminals look to Canada to launder their money through real estate News that some $5 billion was laundered through British Columbia's real estate market in 2018 comes as no surprise to experts, as Canada's weak money-laundering laws make it an attractive spot to park ill-gotten cash. Kevin Comeau, author of a recent C.D. Howe report on money laundering, says people in corruption-prone states who seek to hide the source of their wealth can't just buy a big house in their community, so they often look to cache it  abroad. "Autocracies, kleptocracies, developing and transitioning nations — they’ve got corruption from politicians and they’ve got crime from drugs and human trafficking.

If Canada did not have so much at stake in the U.S.-China trade battle, it might be fun just to rubberneck from the sidelines. Despite the latest flurry of money laundering stories, it's not a new problem. Don Pittis was a forest firefighter, and a ranger in Canada ' s High Arctic islands.

Weak rules have made Canada a magnet for money laundering : Don Pittis . Don Pittis was a forest firefighter, and a ranger in Canada ' s High Arctic islands. After moving into journalism, he was principal business reporter for Radio Television Hong Kong before the handover to China.

As the B.C. investigations have shown, dirty money boosted real estate, car sales and casino income, as well as parts of the legal and financial sector involved in helping launder the cash. And once it is officially clean, completely above-board businesses are able to profit without legal taint.

The disturbing question of why Canada's done so little to end money laundering: Don Pittis© Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

"Money, dirty or clean, helps the economy until it becomes a distortion," said Beare.

Just as with any other inrush of cash to the Canadian economy, that money went into new businesses that paid taxes. It created jobs. If you didn't look at the source, the money was good for Canada and Canadians.

So have successive Canadian federal and provincial governments intentionally turned a blind eye to the criminals who launder their money here? If so, why?

"It is certainly the case, even for someone like me who works in corporate criminal liability and not usually with organized crime, that Canada's always had, unfortunately, a reputation for being a place where money laundering was perhaps easier than in other places," says Jennifer Quaid, a lawyer who is a professor at the University of Ottawa.

B.C. must set clear terms, timeline if it holds money-laundering inquiry: expert

B.C. must set clear terms, timeline if it holds money-laundering inquiry: expert VANCOUVER — The British Columbia government needs to set clear goals and a firm timeline if it launches a public inquiry into money laundering, says a former provincial attorney general who led an exhaustive probe of missing and murdered women. 

The disturbing question of why Canada ' s done so little to end money laundering : Don Pittis . Despite the latest flurry of money laundering stories, it's not a new problem. Canada has long had a reputation as haven for illicit cash. Was it just mistake? Or does a failure to crack down imply the

The disturbing question of why Canada ' s done so little to end money laundering : Don Pittis . "Anything less than a public registry is saying we don 't want to bring it up to best standards." British Columbia's government introduced legislation last month aimed at preventing tax evasion and money

Willful blindness?

She says too much time has gone by to claim that political and law enforcement authorities did not know it was happening or understand there were possible solutions that could have been adopted. The difficult question is whether the reason nothing has been done is simply benign neglect or something worse.

"Has there actually been kind of what we call a willful blindness, where you just don't want to ask the questions, you're kind of not wanting to look because you don't want to know?" said Quaid.  "If that's the case, it's pretty serious."

Because the process of money laundering is so opaque, pointing fingers in laundering cases is always difficult, said Vanessa Iafolla, who, as part of her research for a forthcoming book, interviews real estate agents and brokerages that have reported suspected money laundering attempts.

The disturbing question of why Canada's done so little to end money laundering: Don Pittis© Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Iafolla, whose work is funded by the Canadian Research Network on Terrorism, Security and Society, said that when financial institutions opposed new rules in the 1980s, they complained the laws were too complicated or too costly, not that they did not want to lose business from laundered cash.

Despite the short-term stimulus that dirty cash might bring, all the experts I spoke to worried more about the cost of money laundering to Canadian society. Not only does illegal cash distort markets as in the case of real estate, it has a potentially corrupting effect.

In places such as Mexico or Colombia where the influence of criminal cash has been acknowledged, no one was surprised that the billions of illicit dollars corrupted politicians and police, squeezing out legal business and creating a climate more accessible to criminal elements.

Canada does not have a special immunity to corruption. And while B.C.'s new public inquiry where witnesses can be subpoenaed and forced to testify may open up a Pandora's box, experts say it is crucial to get to the bottom of that difficult question: Cui bono?

"I think it's the defining question," said Iofolla. "Who benefits and how do we find that out."

Follow Don Pittis on Twitter @don_pittis

Read more

Crackdown on money laundering does not include federal public inquiry: minister.
VICTORIA — The federal minister in charge of Canada's fight against money laundering supports British Columbia's public inquiry into dirty money but says a national examination is not necessary. Organized Crime Reduction Minister Bill Blair said Tuesday money laundering is occurring across Canada and internationally, but the federal government has already started implementing measures to combat illegal money. "From my perspective, we've already identified some very significant things that need to be done," he said. "It's been ongoing work. These types of measures, I think, will send a very clear message that Canada is cracking down.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks
usr: 3
This is interesting!