Documents obtained by Postmedia News via a freedom of information request claim that a police unit will be tasked with cracking down illegal gambling and organized crime in British Columbia casinos. The documents provide further details about the way, in which the transaction assessment team is to operate. Apart from that, the documents also claim that an audit from this year reported that “non-cash alternative” patron gambling accounts, which aimed at preventing high rollers from massive cash transactions, are used to deposit money in suspicious activities.
Unlike the other documents obtained by Postmedia, the latest documents are redacted. Furthermore, the new documents do not name a particular casino, due to Great Canadian’s legal claim that the leakage of documents should be stopped as it hits the company’s reputation. As it can be recalled, Great Canadian Gaming Corporation has appeared in the middle of a media firestorm due to its River Rock Casino in Richmond, which was involved in a money laundering scandal. Great Canadian asked the B.C. government to review all the documents before making them public.
However, parts of the recently-released documents remained intact. According to these portions of the text, there is a plan to deploy a special anti-criminal police entity in the Lower Mainland casinos in an attempt to minimize the presence of criminal networks in the province’s gambling life. The move comes as a result of the E-Pirate investigation that has resulted in money-laundering charges against two B.C. individuals and a high-end money transfer business in Richmond.
The E-Pirate investigation and government documents obtained by Postmedia claim that more than C$13 million worth of $20 bills flowed through the River Rock casino in a single month in 2015. The investigation found out that most of the unsourced cash was deposited from Chinese high rollers. The documents also suggested that the bundles of money have been loaned from underground banks. The entire scheme was internationally recognized as “Vancouver Model”.
The Team’s Role in Fighting Suspicious Cash Transactions
In a briefing from earlier this year, the assistant deputy minister for the B.C. gaming enforcement branch, John Mazure cast light on the implementation of the so-called transaction assessment team. The team was projected to operate under B.C.’s new Joint Illegal Gaming Investigation Team. As its name implies, the transaction assessment team will have the hard task to stop suspicious cash transactions.
The part of the documents, which explains how the transaction assessment team is to operate is completely redacted. However, the team’s mission is clear – to quash financial crimes. When asked about a comment, British Columbia Lottery Corporation’s spokeswoman (BCLC), told the reporters from Postmedia that the lottery corporation cannot answer any questions regarding the police investigations or the transaction assessment team, as these matters are not under BCLC’s operations.