Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Coat of Arms of British Columbia

The extraordinary flurry of interest, in British Columbia real estate circles, regarding the massive arrests, in China, of over 450 individuals, accused of money laundering through underground banks, means that some of the readers definitely have something to hide. China severely limits the amounts that its citizens can legally transfer out of the country, and there is a large, and growing, illicit industry, whose sole aim to to move  wealth, including, but not limited to, the proceeds of corruption, profits upon which taxes have been evaded, legitimate profits, and income from crime, out of China, by any means necessary.

Given that the huge increase in real estate prices, in British Columbia, a favorite destination for Chinese investors, both legal and illicit, has now raised the profile of high-value purchases (remember the new tax), you can expect money launderers, working for Chinese clients, to see the handwriting on the wall, and start, immediately, moving client wealth out of the province, to "invest" in more low-key areas of Canada.

 In the United States, China is running a vigorous campaign to locate some its the more prominent expats, especially those who appear to be wealthy, corrupt, former PEPs. That must also make some BC Canadians nervous.

Therefore, it is prudent for compliance officers, real estate attorneys, realtors, and title insurance companies in Canada, to take a close look at new clients, coming from Vancouver, especially if they are looking for properties to invest in. They may be comfortable paying top dollar for their purchases, be in a bit of a hurry to close, and use corporations or trusts as the vehicle through which the investment is made. They may not be of Chinese origin, as good money launderers can always find frontmen to place forward in such cases.

In summary, if China's crackdown on illegal export of capital, of all types, has drawn the attention of certain people in British Columbia, and their advisors, expect at least some movement of wealth to quieter provinces; watch for it.

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