B.C. Premier John Horgan has announced there will be a public inquiry into money laundering in the province after meeting with his cabinet Wednesday morning.
Horgan announced the decision at 10:30 a.m. PT, flanked by Attorney General David Eby and Finance Minister Carole James.
“We have taken decisive actions to combat money laundering, but questions remain, and people in B.C. deserve answers. That is why we have decided to proceed [with an inquiry],” Horgan said.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Austin F. Cullen has been appointed to head the inquiry, which will look into real estate, gaming, financial institutions and the corporate and professional sectors.
Cullen will be able to compel witnesses, order disclosure, and order individuals to attend the hearings, Eby said.
The final report by the inquiry will be delivered by May 2021, and an interim report within the next 18 months.
Calls for a public inquiry have grown after two reports released by the B.C. government last week revealed more than $7 billion was laundered in B.C. in 2018, including an estimated $5.3 billion through the real estate market.
The reports were written by Peter German, a former RCMP deputy commissioner, and law professor Maureen Maloney, the chair of B.C.’s expert panel on money laundering in real estate.
Earlier this month, German released findings on money laundering in the luxury vehicle sector. Last year, another report detailed extensive links between money laundering and B.C. casinos.