Vancouver a mecca for money laundering for Mexico,China and Iran

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Vancouver a mecca for money laundering for Mexico,China and Iran

canadiana
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Why money laundering thrives on Canada’s West Coast

Robert Diab, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, Thompson Rivers University
 
1 hour ago
 
a view of a city at sunset: Vancouver has become a money-laundering haven. Can a public inquiry find solutions?© Mike Benna/Unsplash
    People have long been drawn to Vancouver’s idyllic coastal mountain setting. The region’s strong civil liberties and stable economy convince many of them to stay, and Vancouver has thrived with its diverse set of residents.

    But the city has also become a haven for illicit capital flight and money laundering, drawing a host of criminal organizations with links to China, Mexico and Iran.

   For more than a decade, authorities in British Columbia have tried to staunch the flow of dirty money through the province, but as recent reports commissioned by the B.C. government reveal, the efforts have largely failed.

    Buyers from high-risk laundering jurisdictions continue to pour tens of millions of dollars into Vancouver real estate under laws that make it easy to conceal sources of cash and the identity of true owners.

    Casinos and luxury car dealers still receive large amounts of cash in small denominations. And a host of other players, from money lenders to builders, abet laundering by dealing in large cash sums.

David Eby standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: B.C. Attorney General David Eby shows a video of bundles of cash brought to a B.C. casino during a news conference in Vancouver in June 2018.© THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck B.C. Attorney General David Eby shows a video of bundles of cash brought to a B.C. casino during a news conference in Vancouver in June 2018.
    Money laundering poses real threats. It destabilizes the real estate market and helps to fuel the drug trade, gang warfare, gun violence and car theft.
 
    The 2018 B.C. money laundering reports were authored by laundering expert Peter German, a former RCMP deputy commissioner, and others. They offer a detailed picture of dirty money flowing through B.C. casinos, real estate, the luxury vehicle trade and horse racing.

    A public inquiry is currently underway in the province, headed by Superior Court justice Austin Cullen and aimed at probing the matter further.

    The Cullen Commission will do important work, but will likely make similar recommendations to those set out in the 2018 reports — tighter reporting by casinos, car dealers and home buyers, more funding for police and prosecutors.

    Yet as the reports make clear, B.C.’s problems with money laundering run so deep, they’ll be hard to resolve in the short term.

    Many of the challenges involve areas of law that I watch closely as a lawyer and legal scholar.

    Why B.C. is a magnet for money laundering

    If you’re in the Pacific Rim and you’ve got a pile of money to launder, Vancouver is your destination. As German has noted, the city has a large international airport with flights from several Asian cities and a big international port for container shipping across the Pacific Rim.

    Vancouver is also close to the U.S-Canada border and has easy access to Mexico and a host of international banks. The city also has a bustling tech industry with expertise on encryption and crypto currency.

    If you run into trouble along the way, Canada’s criminal justice system is more lenient, with strong constitutional protections. Our extensive pre-trial disclosure requirements tends to bring complex laundering cases to a grinding halt.

    Who’s doing what

    Money laundering in B.C. involves a complex interplay of money flowing between crime groups with links to China, Iran and Mexico, involving drugs, cars and real estate.

    In what has become known among experts as the “Vancouver Model,” underground bankers, receiving funds in far-flung places, work with trusted contacts in B.C. who release funds locally without cash having to be transferred over borders. Players settle accounts here and abroad by exchanging drugs, cars, land or other favours for cash.

    Criminal organizations don’t have go to extremes to launder their money here. Many use private mortgages, builders’ liens or renovations to move cash through multiple hands and accounts. Construction suppliers, money lenders and some workers accept the cash willingly and without much oversight.

    Fast cars and big houses

    German’s reports note that the rate of auto theft in Canada had dropped for a period but began to rise again in 2016. Roughly 18 per cent of vehicles stolen in 2017 were not recovered. A disproportionate number of these were luxury vehicles, suggesting that organized crime is exporting them.

    Cash is then concealed through luxury car and home purchases in B.C., avoiding currency controls or potential corruption charges abroad.

© THE CANADIAN PRESS Jonathan Hayward Money launderers conceal their cash via B.C. home purchases.
    Many high-end car dealers accept large cash sums, then deposit the funds in conventional banks without needing to identify the buyers.

    British Columbia’s land title system and rules around lawyers’ trust accounts helped foreigners buy some $16 billion worth of property in recent years, often remaining anonymous. Cash from what are considered high-risk buyers — foreign companies and trusts — makes up for 20 to 60 per cent of purchases. Some three per cent of B.C. titles (roughly 33,000) list owners with occupations like student, homemaker or unemployed — with roughly a quarter of them holding clear title.

    The whack-a-mole problem

    German expressed fears in his reports that as banks, casinos and other agencies tighten oversight of the flow of cash into B.C.’s economy, criminals will migrate to other industries.

    Among the oldest tricks he said he doubts will disappear — and one prevalent in Vancouver — involves “paying debts of legitimate businesses and receiving a cheque or other negotiable instrument in return.” Other possible avenues include luxury boats, auction houses, private colleges and crypto-currencies and the cultivation of marijuana.

    At present, German’s research indicates a “noticeable decline” in laundering investigations and prosecutions. The challenges involve more than money.

    Money laundering cases often involve millions of documents, overwhelming the time and staff that police and prosecutors can devote. The Supreme Court of Canada has recently imposed strict time limits on trials. And reporting requirements in casinos, the land title office and luxury retail still have a long way to go to effectively track sources of cash.

    British Columbia should therefore tighten rules around the flow of cash in many of these hot spots. But some things that make the Vancouver area ideal for laundering — geography, civil liberties, global connections — can’t easily change.

    The Cullen commission has a noble cause, but in the short term, money laundering in Vancouver is here to stay.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Robert Diab does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
http://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/why-money-laundering-thrives-on-canadas-west-coast/ar-BBZukJK?li=AAggXBV&ocid=iehp
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Re: Vancouver a mecca for money laundering for Mexico,China and Iran

Frank
On the topic Canada being a Mecca for OC, good article in national post today

https://nationalpost.com/news/canadian-arrested-for-meth-at-australian-airport-latest-in-long-list-of-canadas-drug-push-down-under

Was gonna make a post on it but can’t figure out how to create post to forum. Prob simple as f but I am not tech savvy. Actually that’s a massive understatement.

The rolling rock casino controversy was just the tip of the iceberg for the laundering in Van. Vancouverites cant even afford to rent due to inflation from crooks laundering in the real estate market

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Re: Vancouver a mecca for money laundering for Mexico,China and Iran

canadiana
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This post was updated on .
Frank it depends on posting if you are using Microsoft or Apple.To make a short story of this and for others that may need to know:when you have the article up and it's an Apple product, push your finger at the top of the article.4 little dots appear.Spread them wide with your fingers across the width of the article.You are 'blueing it out'.Take the middle dot and run it down the page til it also 'goes blue'.Then press again and hit copy.You will then have copied the story in it's entirety so all you need to do is go to forum and hit 'new topic'.Type your topic in then press your finger on the page below and push paste and your story should come up.You already know how to put the link in so add that so that way the source is listed.With Microsoft it's somewhat similar depending on your windows version but it's the same thing 'blueing the article' hitting copy and when you go to the forum hitting paste.If you get stuck you can always find a similar article like you did here and just add the link to an existing story.I do that all the time.It is surprising that a lot of people who are 'tech savvy' (and no I'm definitely not)don't know how to copy and paste but I guess if you don't do it you don't do it except for BB right?That article above was interesting in the sense they mention Canada as being well established with organized crime.I can see Montreal,Toronto and Hamilton on lockdown with the Mafia {which keeps other diversified gangs from other countries out of the picture) but I think Vancouver is a mixed bag.Not sure who runs that or maybe several.The average house in Vancouver is worth well over $1 million dollars and has been for quite some time.Economy is booming and there is less than 1% vacancy rate.Last year the city put a 'vacancy tax' on to get people to rent them out or pay a(I believe) a 5% annual extra tax based on their value.There is thousands of empty homes and people have no where to rent or live.Now foreign buyers are buying in Calgary and Montreal to avoid the vacancy tax.Apparently in China you can only own 1 home I'm told.
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Re: Vancouver a mecca for money laundering for Mexico,China and Ira

Frank
Thank you @canadiana, I’m grateful for you having taken the time to explain. Now I know. Many blessings.

Vancouver underworld is dominated by Triads, HA and some Indo Canadian gangs like the Dhak-Dhur alliance at the top, who supply many mid level gangs like red scorpions and UN and brothers keepers. It is rather fluid underneath the highest levels though. From Toronto/Hamilton to MTL, as you said its the Mafia but also some Hells (especially in Quebec) who are inextricably linked with them and together control import of perico. The top ppl source the dope from cds (and cjng, la familia on a lesser scale I assume) or direct from Colombia. The triads and their Big Circle Boys are very very quiet and are responsible according to media, for most fent importation and distro (I have my conspiracy hat on when it comes to fent though) They have a heavy yet low pro presence in Van in part due to its proximity to China, Vietnam and Macau.

Be well and thanks again!