Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Why Canada's money-laundering problem is far bigger than we think

accountability transparency shell companies money laundering real estate crime corruption banks finance corporations

On May 9, an expert panel on money laundering issued its report, Combatting Money Laundering in BC Real Estate, in which it estimated 2018 money laundering in Canada at $46.7 billion. In a recent C.D. Howe Institute report, titled Why We Fail to Catch Money Launderers 99.9% of the Time, I estimate money laundering in Canada at $100 billion to $130 billion. Who’s right?

Actually, it doesn’t matter. Both estimates are massive. They sound an alarm for action, and we now turn to our federal and provincial leaders to implement a public registry of beneficial ownership, as recommended by both reports.

Unfortunately, instead of action, some officials have attacked the panel report for its surprising allocation of money laundering among the provinces (for example, Alberta’s share was 55 per cent greater than British Columbia’s) and that likely misallocation is being used to undermine the credibility of its estimated national amount.

Let’s be clear. The report’s estimate of $46.7 billion is very conservative. And any misallocation of that amount among the provinces is not the panel’s fault. It’s Canada’s.  (more...)

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