British Columbia to ask Ottawa for help on anti-money laundering

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - British Columbia’s attorney general said on Monday he will ask the federal government to provide more tools to track financial criminals and crack down on money laundering when he appears before a federal committee in Ottawa this week.

David Eby will make numerous recommendations on Tuesday to a federal finance committee stemming from a probe of money laundering at British Columbia casinos, his office said in a statement.

The laundering probe opened last fall after the release of a government report on suspicious transactions at a Vancouver-area casino popular with Chinese gamblers. It has already led to plans for more stringent rules, including increased scrutiny on big-money gamblers.

The next round of recommendations will require Ottawa’s support as they fall under federal jurisdiction. The province is also seeking additional money from the federal government for policing white collar crime.

Eby will ask that Canada’s anti-money laundering regulator, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), start sharing information with law enforcement in order to better track financial criminals.

He will also recommend that cash purchases of big-ticket luxury items, such as cars, be tracked, as they can be used to introduce hundreds of thousands in illegal cash into the legitimate economy.

Cash deposits over C$10,000 at banks and casinos, and in real estate and other investment sectors, trigger FINTRAC reporting requirements, while cash retail purchases do not.

Eby’s recommendations are the work of investigator Peter German, a former deputy commissioner with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who is expected to present his final report to the province by the end of this month.

Reporting by Julie Gordon in Vancouver; Editing by Tom Brown