Cops to investigate ICBC

The RCMP will launch a criminal investigation into ICBC’s sale of vehicles rebuilt at its Burnaby repair research centre.

Some cars were sold to the public without the required disclosure they’d been in crashes and others – often high-end luxury cars written off despite minimal damage – were snapped up by ICBC managers and staff through rigged online auctions.

The RCMP’s Commercial Crime section said Thursday it has now finished an initial assessment of material disclosed by ICBC and has determined a police investigation is warranted.

“The aim of this investigation is to ascertain whether or not any offences have been committed,” Sgt. Susan Green said.

The police probe comes in addition to one by B.C. Auditor-General John Doyle at the government’s request and a review by ICBC-appointed auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Nearly 100 vehicles were sold without proper documentation of past accidents. Twenty-two of those were bought by ICBC staff and some were later resold to the public.

ICBC insiders were able to cherry pick the best cars and buy them by paying $100 more than the high auction bid.

The corporation has now disclosed that friends and relatives also bought vehicles in addition to employees and managers.

Allegations of staff misconduct at the in-house auto repair shop were raised three times in 2006 and 2007, ICBC has now disclosed.

But those allegations didn’t result in action to shut down the sale of rebuilt cars until late January.

George Hancock, spokesperson for the United Auto Trades Association representing auto body shops, said the investigations must root out the “rot” in the organization.

He questions whether ICBC’s Special Investigations Unit failed to act against the scam because “they couldn’t investigate themselves.”

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