April 20, 2008 / 7:54 PM / 10 years ago

Criminal probe at Canadian provincial auto insurer

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Canadian police launched a criminal probe on Thursday into allegations of a scam at British Columbia’s provincial auto insurance agency over the reselling of damaged cars.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said they made the decision after reviewing information provided by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia.

ICBC investigated allegations that a system used to sell “written-off vehicles” was rigged to allow some employees to buy cars rebuilt at the corporation’s testing facility so they could profit by reselling them to the general public.

The cars were also sold to the public without notification that they had previously been wrecked.

A source has told Reuters that contractors working for ICBC may also have been given special access to the cars.

British Columbia residents must buy their auto insurance and register their cars through ICBC. It had premium revenue of C$3.3 billion ($3.3 billion) in 2006, and a net profit of C$350 million, accord to its last annual report.

($1=$1.01 Canadian)

Reporting Allan Dowd, editing by Rob Wilson

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