Insurance Corp. of BC wanted to sell its website address to a Chinese state bank that faces allegations of international money laundering.
ICBC was negotiating the sale of ICBC.com to the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China ahead of the 2017 election in British Columbia, Attorney General David Eby told Postmedia News on Wednesday.
These negotiations allowed ICBC to highlight potential savings of $ 10 million from the deal, in internal financial documents on the eve of the 2017 election, Eby said.
However, former minister in charge of ICBC, Liberal Todd Stone, said he rejected the sale of the estate when presented to him by senior ICBC officials as part of a series. money saving proposals.
The Chinese bank wanted to use the abbreviation ICBC for its own Internet presence, which is currently ICBC.com.cn. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China is one of the largest financial institutions in the world and is owned by the Chinese government.
Senior Spanish bank officials were arrested in 2016 after allegations they helped clean up dirty money from crime syndicates entering Europe, according to reports from The Associated Press and Reuters.
Spanish prosecutors alleged that China’s state-run bank helped launder tens of millions of dollars of illegal funds and tax evasion from criminal organizations, according to a 2017 report from Reuters.
The US Federal Reserve cited the bank for “significant gaps” in money laundering guarantees in 2018, and the bank then paid US $ 5.3 million to settle the case with regulators Americans, according to Reuters.
British Columbia is conducting a public inquiry into the effects of money laundering on the provincial economy, including casinos, real estate and luxury automobiles.
The potential $ 10 million sale was on a savings list on ICBC’s financial projections ahead of the 2017 election, although the deal was never finalized, Eby said.
“For ICBC’s budget forecast [plan] before the election it was booked as being sold, ”Eby said. “But it was never sold.”
Eby said such creative accounting was a habit of the previous Liberal government, as it tried to use a series of last-minute maneuvers within ICBC to make it appear better financially than it ever was. ‘was.
“It’s a bit of a reflection, I think, of the desperation of trying to find things to sell to cover up the deficit at ICBC ahead of the election,” Eby said.
Stone denied this, saying the sale of the web domain, as well as the potential sale of ICBC’s head office in North Vancouver, was proposed by senior ICBC officials but ultimately vetoed as minister. .
“Was this an option presented to us by ICBC? Absoutely. We chose not to do it, ”Stone said.
“It was suggested by ICBC on a long list of potential strategies. … But that’s where it all started and ended. There was never an agreement on this. Cabinet never authorized an agreement on this matter. There has been no income recorded on this. This is all fiction. “
Stone accused Eby of trying to distract from a court ruling last week in which Eby’s attempts to limit the number of medical expert reports in ICBC court cases went to trial unconstitutional.
ICBC hemorrhaged money internally in 2017, but voters were unaware during the election campaign. ICBC has lost nearly $ 2.5 billion in the past two years.
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