BC’s Cullen Commission heard that organized crime groups are laundering “hundreds of millions” of funds through operations based in BC and Ontario.

The Cullen Commission is officially known as the Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in BC and is chaired by BC Supreme Court Justice Austin Cullen.

Director-General of Criminal Intelligence Service Canada and RCMP Chief Superintendent Rob Gilchrist told the Commission that 14 criminal syndicates have been assessed as “high-level” threats to Canada, 10 of which are connected to BC. 

“This network represents several service providers, nationally and internationally, that conduct self-laundering and third-party money laundering,” said Gilchrist. 

“Organized crime groups out of BC are often supplying drugs into other provinces. In many ways, BC is a gateway.”

In 2019, authorities found that several of the criminal groups in BC were linked to international drug traffickers and underground banking operations in mainland China. 

A prior testimony to the Commission by Saint Mary’s University professor of criminology Stephen Schneider called the province of BC a “cottage industry” for crime organizations seeking to launder their dirty money. 

“We can’t just think of these stereotypical drug dealers with bags full of cash. We also have to think of more sophisticated corporate entities that are engaged in unethical and criminal activity,” said Schneider. 

“One of your most crucial goals in money laundering is to create the guise of legitimacy and what better way to do that than in the legitimate economy.”

The Cullen Commission was established by Premier John Horgan in May 2019 soon after reports suggested that billions of dollars worth of money earned through criminal enterprises was being laundered in the province. 

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