5 billion laundered through BC real estate last year — boosting cost

VICTORIA — An independent report has found that $5 billion was laundered through British Columbia’s real estate market last year and increased the cost of buying a home by five per cent.The report by former B.C. deputy attorney general Maureen Maloney estimated that $7.4 billion overall was laundered in B.C. last year, a figure she says is conservative and added the total amount across Canada was about $47 billion.The provincial government commissioned two reports last September to shed light on money laundering by organized crime in the province’s expensive real estate market. Vancouver money laundering not just found in casinos. It’s fuelling a booming luxury car business, too B.C.’s dirty money crackdown puts a damper on Vancouver’s once-rollicking casinos Vancouver’s housing market is dismal — but you still need six-figure income to get your foot in the door Former deputy RCMP commissioner Peter German says in his report that the infusion of illicit money into the B.C. economy led to a frenzy of buying that raised the assessed values of homes throughout much of Metro Vancouver.German’s report says the aggregated declared value of cash buys in real estate transactions over the past 20 years is $84 billion to $212 billion.He says his report found thousands of specific properties worth billions at high risk for potential money laundering. read more

UN rights chief appeals to parties in Burundi to implement peace agreements

Along with the protection of civilians and children in armed conflict, Mr. Vieira de Mello stressed the importance of strengthening Burundi’s capacity to deal with human rights issues and reforming the judiciary.His meetings yesterday with President Pierre Buyoya, Vice-President Domitien Nadyizeye and other senior officials included a strong appeal for broad commitment to the Arusha agreement as well as discussions about how his Office could support the overall peace process in Burundi.The High Commissioner also called for end to the culture of impunity, emphasizing that trust could be restored through holding accountable those responsible for gross human rights violations, such as the massacre that took place in Itaba, and settling the issue of prisoners and detainees. read more