Premier John Horgan launched a public inquiry into money laundering Wednesday, saying the depth of the criminal activity in British Columbia runs far deeper than previously believed. Money laundering has distorted the provincial economy, infiltrated casinos, fuelled the opioid overdose crisis and increased the price of real estate, he said at a news conference flanked by Attorney General David Eby and Finance Minister Carole James. The impact of money laundering in B.C. was highlighted in two independent government-commissioned reports released last week that connected the practice to real estate and concluded more than $7 billion in dirty money was laundered in the province last year, said Horgan. “It became abundantly clear to us that the depth and the magnitude of money laundering in B.C. was far worse that we imagined when we were first sworn in,” he said. “That’s why we established the public inquiry today.” Horgan’s New Democrats formed a minority government in the summer of 2017 after 16 years of B.C. Liberal governments. One of the reports by former deputy attorney general Maureen Maloney said $5 billion was siphoned into real estate in 2018, forcing the costs of homes up by at least five per cent. It said that figure could be significantly higher – upwards of 20 per cent – in Metro Vancouver.