Vancouverites see their market as a haven for corruption

by Ephraim Vecina17 Dec 2018

With ample reports of porous regulation facilitating large-scale money laundering by foreign entities, it is a foregone conclusion that Vancouverites would have a decidedly less-than-rosy view of their real estate sector.

A new study by Transparency International Canada found that 37% of respondents in the Metro Vancouver region characterized the real estate market as “extremely corrupt”. In contrast, only 15% of Western Canadians outside Vancouver registered such sentiments.

The current regulatory regime has paved the way for unscrupulous foreigners to take advantage of the gaping loopholes, Transparency International Canada executive director James Cohen said.

“Within Vancouver [specifically] you just have a particular relationship of criminal elements working that have found the luxury market [and] who have found market overseas to bring that money in,” Cohen told CBC.

Read more: CMHC pushing for better fraud detection mechanisms

And while measures like stiffer penalties and stronger law enforcement are steps in the right direction, the most important step is admitting that a problem exists in the first place, Cohen stated.

“We would never say that there’s a silver bullet solution to solving this. It takes a number of steps.”

Late last week, B.C. Attorney General David Eby acknowledged the issue in a keynote speech for Transparency International Canada.

“Money laundering has been ignored for too long and it is hurting our communities,” Eby said. “Our government is fighting money laundering on several fronts, including casinos and real estate, and its ties to organized crime, gang activity and violence.”

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