Industry Reports

Rich Coleman Finally Addresses Criticism for “Doing Nothing” to Tackle Money Laundering in BC Casinos

Rich Coleman, who once served as the minister responsible for gambling in the province of British Columbia explained that he had tried his best to deal with illegal money laundering at local casinos while occupying the position. In CKNW’s Lynda Steele Show, he explained that it was really ridiculous to suggest that his Government was aware of the money laundering schemes and did nothing to stop it due to the benefits it was receiving from gambling revenues.

At the time when Coleman was occupying the position of solicitor general, the British Columbia Government made a decision to dispose of the Independent Integrated Gambling Enforcement Team (IIGET), despite the fact that reports for substantial money laundering taking place in the province had emerged.

He, however, said that the Government had done everything they could to prevent the problem from spreading, but unfortunately, IIGET turned out not to be working the way it had been supposed to.

Coleman explained that his Government had received advice from law enforcement, according to which the unit was not effective enough. He said that finding appropriate people to work at the unit was a problem, and so was building the necessary expertise for them to work. Mr. Coleman explained that law enforcement officers who had been overseeing the process called for the Government to eliminate the unit but keep the funding and redirect it to the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU).

Coleman Faces Strong Criticism for Failure to Tackle Money Laundering

Recently, Rich Coleman has faced strong criticism for the serious lack of action in terms of the money laundering schemes which had been using British Columbia casinos at the time. The revelations made in Peter German’s report proved that at the time when the problem occurred, local authorities did almost nothing to deal with the problem, and what is even worse – preferred to turn a blind eye to the schemes, as they had benefited from substantial donations made by gambling venues in the province.

At the time when Mr. German was investigating the alleged money laundering schemes taking place in British Columbia casinos, he interviewed Coleman and concluded that the elimination of the IIGET in 2009 had a major impact on the problem’s expansion. According to him, the removal of the team left the future of money laundering and organized crime in local casinos in the hands of the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) and the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch.

However, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) provided a different explanation of what actually happened when the previous Government got the reports of alleged money laundering schemes in local casinos. According to the RCMP, it as entirely a Government’s decision to dispose of the IIGET.

Other questions in terms of the lack of actions of the previous BC Government were raised, too. Local media reminded that Mr. Coleman made no response to the first wave of criticism on behalf of the BC Liberals at the time when Mr. German’s report was rolled out last week.