It’s been obvious that the constant increase in Vancouver real estate pricing did not appear to be a locally driven construct. Global Televison and Sam Cooper’s team have referenced a confidential report from Police that studied 1,200 luxury residence purchases in Metro Vancouver in 2016. The study found that while only ten per cent of the purchasers had criminal records, 95 per cent of those transactions were “believed by police intelligence to be linked to Chinese crime networks.” This means that home purchases could have laundered one billion dollars of black/gray cash in 2016.
The house purchases examined were in the 3 million to 35 million dollar range. The study did not include housing between 1 and 3 million dollars or condo flipping due to a lack of resources to scrutinize over 20,000 transactions. Researchers felt that significant suspicious activity would be found in these purchases as well.
Evidence is appearing that the funding for these real estate purchases is from the street proceeds of selling fentanyl, and laundering that cash. One unidentified expert stated “You know that Netflix show Ozark, about laundering drug cartel money? I always think that if those characters came up to Vancouver, they could launder all their cash in just one day.”
There are suggestions of a “fluid coalition of hundreds of wealthy criminals in Metro Vancouver, including gangsters, industrialists, financial fugitives and corrupt officials from China.” They are all linked together in an illicit banking scheme which transfers funding between China and Richmond B.C. to fund fentanyl importation and distribution.
But here’s the disturbing part~while B.C. Lottery casinos does launder some illegal money, this study suggests “it is miniscule compared to the sums flowing through real estate.”
Simon Fraser University’s Duke of Data Andy Yan views this new data as providing an explanation for the tremendous price increases in the real estate market that are totally out of keeping with local salaries. Calling it “financial fentanyl for our real estate” Andy observes “You have found $1 billion. But it is probably magnified in the banking system, with all of the black money, gray money, and legitimate money cascading through local institutions, to make a toxic sausage. So this is a national security issue. And also a national financial issue.”
You can take a look at Sam Cooper’s in-depth research on a few key housing transactions and who owns these houses here. There’s also a discussion on how lucrative fentanyl is and the value of fentanyl in transforming heroin into a counterfeit product, making millions of dollars. It is those millions that appear to have transformed the Vancouver housing market.