Results from B.C. money laundering inquiry delayed until May 2022

Delays due to the pandemic have pushed the final report back a full year

Austin Cullen, who heads the Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia | File photo: Graeme Wood

The Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in B.C. has been granted an extension to submit its final report by May 20, 2022 as opposed to next month.

The inquiry has already been delayed due to pandemic-related complications and now Commissioner Austin Cullen has been granted a second extension to accommodate late closing submissions following delays in testimony.

“Commission staff, commission counsel and the participants have all worked extremely hard to get to this stage in the proceedings. We are happy to have concluded the hearings process. Having reached that juncture, assessing the work ahead, it became clear we would not be able to conclude the final report in the limited time available before it was due,” said Cullen in a statement.

“With an extension to May 20, 2022, for the final report, we can ensure the report delivers analysis and recommendations commensurate with the importance of the issues,” added Cullen.

Part of the delay was to accommodate former B.C. Lottery Corporation anti-money laundering director and whistleblower Ross Alderson.

The inquiry has heard testimony about suspected money laundering in B.C.-regulated casinos, but also in sectors such as residential real estate, luxury vehicles and the financial sector.

The inquiry has explored methods to combat money laundering, such as corporate and property registries, better police enforcement, unexplained wealth orders and inter-governmental communication.

The commission stated that “although there has been considerable progress made in reviewing the voluminous record, preparing the final report remains a significant undertaking.

“The commission’s mandate, as determined by its terms of reference, is wide-ranging in its breadth and scope. It involves various sectors of the economy; a broad spectrum of enterprises, government and regulatory agencies and individuals; law enforcement agencies; professions; corporations; gaming enterprises; financial institutions; luxury goods; real estate and virtual assets. The mandate includes a review of important concepts such as quantification, privacy implications and money laundering and anti-money laundering initiatives in other jurisdictions around the globe.”

gwood@glaciermedia.ca