BC casinos court China’s high-rollers, but it’s realtors who gamble with money launderers (Ian Young, SCMP)

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“Which brings us back to the uncomfortable question of the luxury real estate market.

‘With respect to houses in Vancouver, Richmond, and Toronto, that is a different story,’ said Duhaime.

“People from mainland China routinely buy houses for millions of dollars in cash in Canada and those transactions may be problematic for money laundering. Real estate agents in Canada apply very relaxed anti-money laundering standards on real estate sales.”

Duhaime said that real estate agents have the same anti-money laundering obligations as casinos ‘but do not apply the same level of stringent controls’.”

‘If there is a place where a crackdown is needed, it is with real estate purchases,’ she said.”

Excerpt from “BC casinos court China’s high-rollers, but it’s realtors who gamble with money launderers” by Ian Young, South China Morning Post, 4-Mar-2015)
http://www.scmp.com/comment/blogs/article/1729003/bc-casinos-court-chinas-high-rollers-its-realtors-who-gamble-money

See excerpts below. Also, please refer to our story “Real estate industry has major role in fighting money laundering: Info for Dollar signs, CHWcitizens” (CityHallWatch, 5-Mar-2015) including links to industry codes of conduct, the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act, and the serious consequences for violation. So…. how is Canada’s industry doing? The public needs to help scrutinize. How much money coming into Metro Vancouver real estate is money laundering, and what is that doing to our real estate prices? Perhaps an inquiry is needed — quick and efficient, formal and independent? Any City Council could commission this, with a couple months for quick results.  Dollars, credit Desmog blog Canadarenminbi

Excerpts of “BC casinos court China’s high-rollers…” (bold text selected by CityHallWatch):

When the head of British Columbia’s Lottery Corporation went on the record last month with the crown corporation’s strategy of targeting mainly-Chinese high rollers, playing up to C$100,000 (HK$625,000) per hand, all sorts of alarm bells went off in my head.

BCLC chief executive Jim Lightbody, in an interview with the Victoria Times Colonist, said it was not uncommon for such players to enter a game with C$200,000, walking into the casino with “bags full of money for their buy-ins”.

I turned to anti-money laundering expert Christine Duhaime, a barrister whose practice specialises in such matters and offers advice to governments, corporations (including casinos) and wealthy individuals alike.

It turns out that Duhaime thinks I’m worrying about the wrong kind of casino: It’s the luxury real estate market in Metro Vancouver and Toronto that she’s concerned about.

And it should be pointed out that not everyone is confident about the BCLC’s approach, with former crown prosecutor Sandy Garossino (who now advocates against the expansion of gambling operations in BC) suggesting to the Times Colonist that the corporation was “playing with fire”.

… Which brings us back to the uncomfortable question of the luxury real estate market.

“With respect to houses in Vancouver, Richmond, and Toronto, that is a different story,” said Duhaime. People from mainland China routinely buy houses for millions of dollars in cash in Canada and those transactions may be problematic for money laundering. Real estate agents in Canada apply very relaxed anti-money laundering standards on real estate sales.”

Duhaime said that real estate agents have the same anti-money laundering obligations as casinos “but do not apply the same level of stringent controls”.

If there is a place where a crackdown is needed, it is with real estate purchases,” she said.

See full article:
http://www.scmp.com/comment/blogs/article/1729003/bc-casinos-court-chinas-high-rollers-its-realtors-who-gamble-money

See full article: Ian Young is the SCMP’s former International Editor. A journalist for more than 20 years, he worked for Australian newspapers and the London Evening Standard before arriving in Hong Kong in 1997. There he won or shared awards for excellence in investigative reporting and human rights reporting, and the HK News Awards Scoop of the Year. He moved to Canada with his wife in 2010 and is now the SCMP’s Vancouver correspondent.

One thought on “BC casinos court China’s high-rollers, but it’s realtors who gamble with money launderers (Ian Young, SCMP)

  1. Has the time for those that trained to make arrest to form vigilante groups to track these bastards done, the VPD is not capable of doing the job far to many Chinese working there and seem for Richmond, 4K to 17K living in Toronto and Vancouver Vancouver City Mayor and Council are doing nothing they all should be investigate

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