B.C. is investigating possible money laundering in Lower Mainland casinos. (Black Press files)

Track cars bought for cash, money laundering investigator says

Peter German says Vancouver is ‘Canada’s luxury car capital’ with no oversight

Cash purchases of luxury cars and other expensive items should be subject to “geographic targeting,” the money laundering expert hired by the B.C. government recommends.

“The criminal lifestyle is often attracted to expensive consumer goods, such as luxury cars, and due to their high value, these items can also be used to reintroduce illegal cash to the legitimate economy,” says one of the latest recommendations from Peter German, a former deputy commissioner of the RCMP. “Currently, there is no tracking by government of cash purchases for luxury items.”

German calls Vancouver “Canada’s luxury car capital,” recommending that Metro Vancouver dealers should report cash purchases. A reporting threshold higher than $10,000 may be needed to prevent the shift of local buyers to other areas, he says.

B.C. Attorney General David Eby released a new set of interim recommendations from German Monday as he prepares to appear before the federal finance committee in Ottawa this week.

German also calls for better resourcing of police, after the RCMP eliminated its national commercial crime and proceeds of crime sections in 2012.

“Although the RCMP is rebuilding its financial crime expertise, the gap in federal policing in this area between 2012 and 2017 shifted responsibility for white-collar crime to provincial and municipal police forces, which generally do not have the resources or expertise to take on these complex files,” German said.

The federal government is considering changes to the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act. German recommends information sharing between police agencies and the federal government’s Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (FINTRAC), which requires reporting of large cash transactions at casinos.

B.C. has already implemented two of German’s recommendations for casinos. One requires casinos to fill out a form identifying the customer and the source of funds for any cash or bearer bond deposit of $10,000 or more.

The other is to hire government regulators to be “seen on site at large, high-volume facilities” 24 hours a day.

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