‘Ongoing problem in co-operation and support’ from federal government in B.C. money laundering inquiry

DAVID Eby, Attorney General, in a statement in response to the interim report from the Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, said on Thursday: “”In reviewing the report, I am profoundly concerned about the commissioner’s advice at the bottom of page 9 and over to page 10 that there is an ongoing problem in co-operation and support from the Government of Canada.”

He added: “Most troubling to me is the apparent failure of FINTRAC, the federal anti-money-laundering agency, to share what it knows about what is happening in British Columbia with the commission.”

In his report, Justice Austin Cullen provides commentary on the work the commission has undertaken and the evidence it has heard to October 2020.

Eby said: “I never expected anything but full co-operation from Canada’s only major anti-money-laundering agency. To have anything short of that, given the agency’s stated mandate, is surprising and inexcusable.

“I have spoken this morning with Bill Blair, federal Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and he shares my concerns about the participation of this organization. He has pledged to assist however his office can in improving the response of this quasi-independent federal agency.

“Despite this disturbing revelation from the commissioner, I am heartened following my conversation with Minister Blair, in which he shared the federal government soon will announce significant changes in federal policing related to money laundering in our province. I look forward to that announcement.

“I appreciate Minister Blair’s commitment to take action to ensure the information the commission needs is delivered swiftly and wish him success in working with cabinet counterparts and Prime Minister [Justin] Trudeau to deliver the resources needed to find and prosecute the criminals laundering their profits from guns, poisoned drugs, violent crime and misery.

“The Province should not have to do this alone, and Minister Blair has assured me we are not on our own in this. Many British Columbians are watching what happens next carefully.”