At an anti-corruption conference in Vancouver, that took place on Friday last week, British Columbia’s recently-elected Attorney General David Eby announced that he is to introduce a money laundering clampdown later this week. According to his words, the situation in the province is worse than expected, accusing the previous government of flouting anti-money laundering laws. He added that he was shocked when he received the first internal briefings about the alleged money laundering activity at B.C.’s casinos and he believes that there are more things, which still lie beneath the surface.
In September this year, Attorney General David Eby made public the River Rock Casino report that unveiled suspicious activities at the casino. Mr. Eby accused the previous government of concealing a report into alleged money laundering activity at the River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond. The report found out that large volumes of unsourced cash flowed through River Rock Casino.
As a result, the B.C. government appointed an independent expert to review money laundering at B.C.’s casinos. Former deputy commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Peter German was tasked with presenting a complete report regarding the alleged money laundering activity at Lower Mainland casinos. Mr. German’s final report is due in March 2018.
David Eby Details Money Laundering Activity in British Columbia
In a speech at an anti-corruption law conference in Vancouver, Mr. Eby cast some light on the money laundering case, but he could not provide in-depth details as the police investigation is still underway. However, he revealed that he is poised to tighten the regulatory screw regarding money laundering activities through gambling industry. According to his words, “the particular style of money laundering in B.C. related to B.C. casinos is being called ‘the Vancouver Model‘ in at least one international intelligence community”.
Mr. Eby accused the former B.C. Liberals of burying the report. The official pointed out that the lax anti-money laundering (AML) rules are the reason for the current situation. B.C.’s Attorney-General suggests that the former government was not prone to make the report public as it enjoyed good financial benefits. It was estimated that the market value of B.C.’s gambling industry is approximately C$1.3 billion this year. Supposing that the former government voiced money laundering concerns, it would lose millions, or even billions, in hunting the wrongdoers. Hence, it seems that concealing the report was the more convenient option for the Liberals.
In an April confidential report, the gaming enforcement branch’s director of compliance Len Meilleur explains that over C$100 million was laundered through B.C. casinos. The official warned the government that the presence of organized criminals in casinos may ruin irreparably the gambling industry in the region.