Rich Coleman, former minister responsible for casinos and gambling, announces B.C. Lottery Corporation’s online betting website, August 2010. (Black Press files)

B.C. political battle over ‘dirty money’ heats up

David Eby seeks cabinet documents on money laundering moves

Attorney General David Eby is pressing his case that B.C. Liberal mismanagement of casinos led to widespread money laundering, as detailed in an investigator’s report in June that described “a decade of dirty money.”

Eby sent a letter to B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson Friday, seeking access to confidential cabinet documents showing how the issue was handled. (Full letter below.)

“Former minister Rich Coleman has recently said that the previous government did ‘everything we could’ to crack down on money laundering,” Eby wrote. “It is our government’s desire to continue to aggressively pursue measures to counter money laundering, but to do so in a manner that does not duplicate unsuccessful efforts from previous governments.”

Investigator Peter German released a report in June describing what he called the “Vancouver model” of money laundering, where large quantities of suspicious cash are converted to casino chips and then converted back to money.

RELATED: Report describes years of money laundering

The report details the government’s gaming enforcement branch discovery that $39.5 million in suspicious transactions took place between 2010 and 2011 in 543 incidents, most recorded at the River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond.

The NDP has long accused Coleman of setting the stage for out-of-control money laundering by disbanding an integrated police enforcement team in 2009, after five years of operation. Coleman has maintained that the decision was made at the request of senior RCMP officers, who advised him the structure was not effective in dealing with international organized crime.

German’s report also suggests that then-finance minister Mike de Jong fired the head of gaming enforcement investigations in 2014, who German describes as “the first person to identify the extent of the money laundering problem in B.C.”

Letter Eby Wilkinson.2018.08.10 by Tom Fletcher on Scribd


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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