Pubdate: Thu, 30 Apr 2015
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2015 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Dan Fumano
Page: 6


Ex-Mountie says there's a lot of dirty money involved in real estate 
purchases and building boom

Vancouver is "emerging as a critical money laundering hub" for 
international criminals, due to a convergence of factors including 
drug money, international connections, an active port, and a hot real 
estate market, experts say.

International criminals looking to "wash" ill-gotten gains in 
Vancouver remain a persistent problem, said Kim Marsh, a 
Vancouver-based financial crime specialist with decades of experience 
in law enforcement and private investigations.

Thursday in Vancouver, Marsh will make a presentation to a group of 
anti-money laundering professionals, detailing his role in a complex 
2013 investigation that came to be known as "the Libyan Caper," a 
story illustrating the global nature and massive scope of money 
laundering. In Vancouver, one can't look at money laundering without 
considering property investment, Marsh said. And a more active market 
means more opportunity for funds to be washed.

"What's happening here in the real estate market is pretty 
remarkable," said Marsh, who now works for a private fraud protection 
firm after 25 years with the RCMP. He mentioned an "increase in value 
of property across the board" and "non-stop residential building."

"Part of that is the success story of Vancouver. But there's a lot of 
dirty money washing around with these purchases," said Marsh, now 
executive vice-president of international operations for IPSA International.

It's a growing concern for Vancouver, said Christine Duhaime, a 
Vancouver lawyer and financial crime specialist.

"There is more of a money laundering problem now and part of that is 
because law enforcement agencies say Vancouver is emerging as a 
critical money laundering hub for transnational criminal 
organizations," Duhaime said.

Duhaime also said Vancouver's thriving real estate market is a key 
factor, and added that some dirty money in Vancouver is brought in 
from overseas, whether from corrupt foreign officials, weapons 
trafficking or other means, and some is locally generated, often from 
the illicit drug market.

"Based on reports by the United States Department of State, Canada is 
a major money laundering country, and in particular, British Columbia 
is of concern, because it is a major producer globally of ecstasy and 
marijuana," she said.

Duhaime is co-chair of the Western Canada branch of the Association 
of Certified Anti-Money-Laundering Specialists, or ACAMS.

The Vancouver chapter of ACAMS will host an event at the Vancouver 
Club, where Marsh will tell the story of "the Libyan Caper," and how 
he came to be involved in an international operation targeting tens 
of millions in U.S. bills, smuggled out of Libya and sitting in 
shipping containers in a warehouse in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom