BC government comes up empty-handed in first search for Russian-owned properties
The BC government has been unable to locate properties owned by Russian oligarchs in the province.
Finance Minister Selina Robinson, however, said her department staff will continue to search for properties belonging to people currently under federal sanctions.
The province can use the Land Owner Transparency Act to do this — a one-of-a-kind database in Canada that serves as an accessible registry of beneficial interests in land in British Columbia, she explained.
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Beyond that, she added, the province must rely on the federal government for other tools to track beneficial ownership.
“We are ready to act on anything the federal government approves. If that means seizing properties, we’re ready to do that,” Robinson said Wednesday.
“We have some preliminary information but nothing to indicate anything problematic.”
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Ron Usher, general counsel for the Society of Public Notaries of British Columbia, said the landowner registration tool is important for the province, but it has limitations.
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The biggest problem, he explained, is that all properties purchased after the law came into effect are now in the database, but properties purchased before 2019 are not.
“There was supposed to be a deadline last November to enter all of the historical data which has been pushed back to this November, so there would be a number of properties that are not yet in the owner transparency database. land,” he told Global News.
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The province was able to put some measures in place immediately, such as removing Russian alcohol from government liquor stores. The government’s public sector pension fund, under pressure from members, also decided to divest its Russian assets.
These actions are aimed at condemning the unprovoked and violent invasion of Ukraine by Russian President Vladimir Putin last week. Russian troops bombarded Ukrainian towns, causing thousands of civilian casualties and efforts to evacuate more than 677,000 Ukrainians.
World leaders condemned the invasion and imposed sanctions on Russia. On Wednesday, the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to reprimand Moscow, demanding that it immediately withdraw its military forces.
Canada, meanwhile, pledged that additional economic sanctions were in the pipeline for Russia and confirmed its intention to ban vessels and fishing vessels owned or registered by Russia from entering ports and waters. Canadian.
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