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B.C.'s money-laundering inquiry deadline extended

Commission, which is looking into financial irregularities in B.C.'s real estate market and casinos, has been given until December to submit its report
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Austin Cullen, head of the Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in B.C., is expected to issue his final report this year.

The provincial government has granted an extension to the reporting deadline for Cullen Commission inquiry into B.C.’s massive money-laundering scandal.

The inquiry has now been given until Dec. 15 this year to provide the government with its findings, which includes probing B.C.’s real estate market and gambling irregularities at several B.C. casinos and racetracks.

The commission said the extension was needed due primarily to challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which required the inquiry to shift to an entirely online environment for its hearings.

There were also delays in the production of documents from participants, in particular from the federal government, and a halting of proceedings in October for the provincial election.

The hearings are now scheduled to continue until the close of evidence in mid-May. Commission counsel are working with participants to determine the timing and process for final submissions.

“The Commission, the hearing team and the participants have exhibited a spirit of cooperation and flexibility for which I am grateful,” said Commissioner Cullen.

“They have collectively worked hard and pushed forward during unprecedented and difficult times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Commissioner Austin Cullen.

“By the end of the hearings, the Commission will have before it a very substantial body of evidence dealing with a host of issues—some of which are very complex.

“This evidence will put the Commission in a position to assess, analyze and decide on a suite of recommendations involving a broad range of social, economic, political and constitutional considerations to fulfil its mandate properly. This extension for submission of my final report will provide a reasonable timeframe to do this.”

Upcoming hearing blocks are scheduled as follows (subject to change):

•        March 29 – April 2: Enforcement / luxury goods

•        April 5 – 9: Enforcement

•        April 12 – 16: Enforcement

•        April 19 – 23: Government response

•        April 26 – 30: Government response

•        May 3 – 7: Other jurisdictions

•        May 10 – 14: Other jurisdictions