Money laundering is a rising issue in British Columbia (B.C.) due to the lack of enforcement of laws. Although detection and reporting of suspicious activities stands strong, without action taken to deter the activity, it will continue. Specifically, casinos in B.C. are sources for the money laundering crimes and, for this reason, the government has set the introduction of new anti-money laundering (AML) laws as a priority on the policy agenda.
David Eby, the Attorney General of B.C. and MLA for Point Grey, met with the House of Commons finance committee to discuss the pressing money laundering issues taking place in the province. Eby believes that the current AML policies are not strong enough to prevent the illicit activity and greater measures need to be taken to penalize offenders.
In September 2017, B.C. assigned Peter German, a former RCMP deputy commissioner for Western and Northern Canada, to explore the issues within casinos and report on any suspected money laundering activity. In German’s report, he made 48 recommendations that he said would be beneficial in deterring money laundering if implemented by the provincial government.
As of now, the government has only implemented two of the recommendations from German; (1) increase the number and availability of government regulators at casinos in the Lower Mainland and (2) require gamblers to justify cash or bearer bond deposits over $10,000 by filling out a “source of funds declaration.” These new policies could potentially cause the casino industry in B.C. to lose up to $88 million (USD) in annual revenue because VIP players would be prevented from betting with more than $10,000 in cash if they do not declare the money beforehand. It is also possible that the government will ban cash deposits of more than $10,000 in order to prevent suspicious transactions in casinos.
David Eby’s decisions on this case will determine B.C.’s competency in handling financial crimes in the province moving forward.
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