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Money laundering probe

The B.C. government will hold a public inquiry into money laundering.

Premier John Horgan says money laundering has had numerous impacts on people in the province including a rise in opioid deaths and higher housing costs.

The government released two reports last week estimating $7.4 billion in illegal cash was laundered in the province in 2018.

One of the reports said $5 billion of that was siphoned into real estate, forcing the costs of homes up by at least five per cent.

Horgan says the reports made it clear the depth and magnitude of money laundering in B.C. was far worse than the government imagined.

Attorney General David Eby says B.C. Supreme Court Justice Austin Cullen has agreed to lead the inquiry and he'll have the power to compel testimony, seize records and obtain search warrants.

"Even with many red flags, the problem of money laundering is bigger than we thought and more entrenched than we hoped," Eby told a news conference on Wednesday.

He said money laundering is a "crisis" in the province's economy.

When the reports were released last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the information was "extremely alarming," adding that money laundering is hurting people by disrupting the housing market.



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