The former deputy commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Peter German who was required to make an investigation on alleged money-laundering scheme across casino venues in British Columbia said that he was aware that his work would soon be done at the time when the province hired him less than a year ago.
Still, in an interview with The Star Vancouver, he praised the encouragement and co-operation he had received from local police officers, investigators, and whistleblowers who had been trying to raise the awareness about the problem for about a decade. Mr. German also said that he was grateful for the work done by the local police. He also gave a special praise to the former senior investigations director for the Gaming and Policy Enforcement Branch of British Columbia, Joe Schalk, who has been repeatedly trying to make the province’s government do something since 2012.
Six years ago, Schalk tried to raise local authorities’ awareness of the problem in an e-mail now quoted in the report which Mr. German released last week. The investigation carried out by Mr. German concluded that casinos situated in the Lower Mainland were used by organized crime groups to wash the dirty money accumulated from illegal activities, which was a major failure of the collective system which is under the control and monitoring of the province.
It became clear that criminals were regularly allowed to deposit hundreds of thousands of dollars at casino cashier wickets, but the anti-money laundering unit of the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) did almost nothing to stop this from happening.
Major Failure of BC Authorities in Terms of Illegal Gambling
The Executive Director of the British Columbia Gaming Industry Association, Peter Goudron, explained that the recommendations made in Mr. German’s report were welcomed by the group, which has always been engaged in reporting suspicious transactions in its casinos around the province as required by law.
Mr. Goudron further shared that the local competent authorities were focused on making sure what the origin of the money deposited in those casinos was and reiterated the Association’s readiness to do its best in order to fulfill its obligations. Still, he confessed there had been a breakdown in the system, but insisted that it was more important for the local industry to never allow such a major problem to occur again.
The report unveiled by Mr. German last week raised some questions related to the priorities set by British Columbia authorities when it comes to preventing such a money-laundering scheme from happening. Mr. Rich Coleman who acted as the minister responsible for gambling in the province in the period from 2001 to 2006, then in 2009/2010 and in 2012/2013, was one of the people who according to German could be held responsible for the poor monitoring and regulation of casino gambling in the region. As previously revealed by Casino Reports, in 2009 Coleman was engaged in overseeing the elimination of the only independent police unit which was dedicated to gambling crime investigation. The unit was created back in 2004 to maintain the integrity of public gaming in the province by taking care of law enforcement in terms of illegal gambling operations in British Columbia.