View Royal Mayor David Screech calls investigation ‘ridiculous’ and an ‘overreaction’ (File photo)

B.C. mayor flagged by anti-corruption investigators after depositing 50-50 winnings

View Royal Mayor David Screech cites an ‘overreaction’ to $5,100 winning

A Vancouver Island mayor had no idea winning $5,100 could be such a pain.

View Royal mayor David Screech was informed by his bank this week that he was being investigated after winning a 50-50 draw at a Victoria Royals hockey game.

His bank, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, called Screech, his wife and youngest son asking “a series of questions to do with my banking,” he told Black Press Media.

“It all seemed like a bit of a ridiculous reaction to a one-time-only cash deposit.”

The questions put to Screech centered on where the money came from, while his wife was asked how she paid her Visa bill.

Screech learned he was considered a politically exposed person (PEP) because of his mayorship. The 2017 anti-corruption law is described by the Canadian Government website as “part of the approach to combating money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities.”

READ MORE: B.C. receives two money laundering reports after reviews of real estate, cars

READ MORE: B.C. takes aim at ‘shell companies’ hiding property ownership

Domestic PEPs include military generals or those of higher ranks, judges of high courts, heads of a government agency or, in this case, a municipal government.

“In a nutshell, I suppose I’m surprised that rules and regulation are in place that affect mayors that I’m not aware of that I don’t think any mayor’s are aware of – that they’re on this special federal list,” he said.

Screech filed a complaint with the federal financial agency that oversees banks and the Department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs this week.

“The impression I get from the government is that the bank went well beyond what they are required to do. So that again is part of what makes me angry, if the bank did go beyond and above what they’re required to do.”

“Under federal legislation, Canadian financial institutions may be required to seek additional information on various transactions involving some individuals who hold prominent positions. We regularly review our policies to ensure compliance with legal and regulatory obligations,” CIBC said in a statement to Black Press Media.

Screech said he has no clue as to the nature of the investigation or its conclusions.

“Somewhere there is something in my record about an investigation that I have no ability to see or know of, and to me, by Canadian law, that’s just not acceptable.”

swikar.oli@goldstreamgazette.com


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