Attorney General David Eby (Black Press)

Rules reviewed to keep drug money out of B.C. real estate

Investigator looking at loans as well as casinos, David Eby says

The B.C. government’s money laundering investigator is examining real estate loans as well as suspicious casino transactions, Attorney General David Eby said Monday.

Eby said there were new specifics and individuals identified in a weekend Globe and Mail report on mortgage loans using money connected to the fentanyl trade, which police may have already been investigating. But Eby was made aware of the general problem of drug cash potentially being converted to loans after the NDP government took office last year.

Former RCMP deputy commissioner Peter German was appointed in September to examine money laundering in B.C., and to make recommendations on changes to policy. That applies to untraced cash being loaned for property purchases as well as being converted by casinos.

RELATED: B.C. appoints expert to review money laundering

“Are we getting the information we need at the Land Title Registry about these kinds of loans, to ensure that there are no loopholes being exploited,” Eby said Monday. “Are we asking the right questions about where the money came from.”

German’s report is due at the end of March, but the government has asked him to make recommendations as evidence comes forward. The province is also looking at additional measures to restrict foreign buyers from investing in B.C. real estate and pushing prices up beyond the reach of people living and working in B.C. cities.

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