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Criminals Uses Canada’s Casinos For Illegal Activities
In recent years, Canada’s westernmost province, British Columbia, has become infamous worldwide for money laundering activities, notoriously known as the “Vancouver Model”. Criminals have been using local casinos to launder money and it’s been estimated that some casinos had unwittingly laundered more than $100 million within the past 10 years.
Measures have been introduced by the province’s attorney general, David Eby, to restrain money laundering activities in 2017 by forcing local casinos to demand proof of legitimate source from its customers for payments of over $10,000. While this has successfully reduced the number of suspicious transactions in casinos, the burden of these illegal activities has been felt across the entire province. One of the biggest impacts on local residents is that housing prices have become unaffordably high.
Earlier this year, Eby’s government hired investigator Peter German to study the Vancouver Model. The first report from the investigation was published in June, detailing how criminals are laundering money in casinos. It began with wealthy Chinese citizens wanting to relocate money from China to Canada. The Chinese citizens will send money from their Chinese bank account to another account in China. Then, when they arrive at Canada, they will receive a bag of cash from criminals which they use to gamble at local casinos. The money in the bag is gained from illegal activities but the people who spend the actual money at the casinos are not the criminals themselves.
According to German, the Chinese gamblers are not the heart of the problem because they simply want to move their money from China and start a new life in Canada. He is now working on a second report which examines the role that the Vancouver Model plays in the surging real estate prices in British Columbia. According to Transparency International Canada, a large number of the most expensive houses in Vancouver are bought by trusts, nominees, or shell companies which is a method used to hide the identity of the real owners. This is certainly very suspicious and definitely needs more looking into.
The scheme has become very well-known internationally and could be spreading its reach to as far as Australia. We are glad that Eby’s office is taking this matter seriously and is putting in a lot of effort to curb it. Being notorious for criminal activities isn’t good for the country and if the criminals were given free rein, there will be many more negative impacts on local residents.