BCREA Brings REALTOR® Perspective to Inquiry into Money Laundering
In late October, BCREA began its involvement in the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia by attending a series of public meetings which were held throughout the province.
Trevor Hargreaves, BCREA Vice President of Government Relations and Stakeholder Engagement, attended the meetings in Vancouver, Victoria, and Richmond on behalf of BCREA, which has been granted formal standing throughout the process, giving the province's REALTORS® a seat and unified voice at the table.
"Money laundering is an issue of high public and governmental concern and it's important that we are a part of this process," says Hargreaves. "Our role is to help ensure the Commission understands the daily realities of real estate practice. Over the course of the Commission process, we will likely have multiple opportunities to provide industry specific insight, context and expertise."
BCREA may be asked to be provide context, insight, or documentation, and may be given the opportunity to call witnesses and carry out cross-examination.
The Cullen Commission was announced by Premier John Horgan on May 15, 2019, after a series of reports commissioned by the provincial government highlighted the need for further investigation and action surrounding money laundering in BC.
BCREA participated in the two main money laundering reports commissioned by the provincial government: Dirty Money: An Independent Review of Money Laundering in Lower Mainland Casinos Conducted for the Attorney General of British Columbia by Peter German, a former commissioner of the RCMP; and Combatting Money Laundering in BC Real Estate, prepared by an expert panel consisting of Maureen Maloney, Tsur Somerville, and Brigitte Unger.
BCREA also commissioned a vulnerability assessment of residential and commercial transactions, and worked with four other real estate organizations to prepare a set of anti-money laundering best practices and recommendations.
In the new year, the Commission will move to a more formal evidence-gathering process. After it's completion, the Commission is expected to publish its findings and make recommendations aimed at addressing the factors that have led to the prevalence of money laundering in BC.
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