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Report leads to concerns around dirty money in Saskatchewan
Published Friday, May 10, 2019 6:14PM CST
Last Updated Friday, May 10, 2019 6:36PM CST
A new report released by the government of British Columbia is raising serious concerns around dirty money in Canada, as it estimates a total of $47-billion was laundered in our country in 2018.
The report focuses on B.C., but says higher estimates of money laundering are occurring in Alberta, Ontario and the Prairies, which includes Saskatchewan and Manitoba
"It could be real estate here, it could be gaming. So anywhere you have casinos. Particularly smaller casinos are very vulnerable to money laundering. Real estate comes up a lot, small businesses, cash businesses,” University of Regina economics professor Jason Childs said.
According to the report, the numbers can be attributed to crime rates and a low GDP.
It's not a new problem. In 2015, an estimated $40-billion was laundered in all of Canada. Of the $40-billion, $6.5-billion was laundered through the prairies, the third highest region in the country.
"The odds of getting caught might be lower here, and as a result its 'hey, let’s go to Saskatchewan and clean the money and then we can spend it elsewhere,’” Childs said.
Both the federal and provincial governments say they are working with provinces and police, to try and combat money laundering.
“Our government has responded, I think in a very appropriate way. We’re working hard to increase the capacity of both the RCMP and FINTRAC (Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada) and our other regulatory partners,” Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Bill Blair told CTV News.
The Saskatchewan Government says police handle these type of investigations, and notify the province if further action is needed.
"It’s probably a bigger problem than we're ready to admit,” Childs said.
While Childs says policies are needed, he adds it's extremely hard to prove in court, and often it's the middle men who get caught, not the ring leaders.
Childs says it's not easy but the province needs to do more monitoring of money coming in and out of the region. And try to determine where it's coming from and track where it ends up.