Industry Reports

PM Trudeau Calls for Minister Blair to Help Anti Money-Laundering Campaign in British Columbia

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has entitled new Minister Bill Blair with the task to oppose organized crime money laundering, especially in the province of British Columbia. PM Trudeau handed a mandate letter to Minister Blair to emphasize on his Government’s engagement to actively help in solving the crisis of money laundering incidents of BC Lottery casinos.

Bill Blair was officially appointed as the new Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction in July 2018. For the time being, it remains unclear how he plans to deal with the money laundering issues in British Columbia.

For some time now, problems associated with money laundering in British Columbia have been progressively emerging in various economy sectors, including the local gambling industry. Allegedly, the schemes involve international criminal organizations based in Hong Kong, China and Macau.

As for the money laundering schemes in BC Lottery casinos, the schemes also involve underground and offshore banking networks. As Casino Reports revealed earlier, according to some law enforcement sources and legal cases, there were also connections between some British Columbia casinos and China VIP gamblers and VIP gambling rooms.

Second Stage of Eby’s Probe Into Money Laundering to Start in September

Earlier in 2018, the Attorney General of British Columbia David Eby informed senators that local casinos were associated with illegal money laundering, with the unique money washing method used had been internationally known as the “Vancouver Model”.

Reportedly, the “Vancouver Model” is very much like the money laundering schemes seen in Macau casinos. Wealthy Chinese gamblers, who sometimes include some corrupt officials and crime bosses, use the services of loan shark networks to buy chips in BC casinos. Such gamblers, who are also known as “whale gamblers”, are given the chance to pay back these loans in China, with little or no interest. Mortgages against British Columbia-located real estates or vehicles are often used to secure the loans.

An independent review into British Columbian casino money laundering schemes was ordered by Attorney General Eby in September 2017, following an official inspection which showed that suspicious cash amounting at approximately CA$14 million had entered the province through the River Rock Casino in Richmond in July 2015.

The results of the investigation, which were revealed by former Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) deputy commissioner Peter German in his report, confirmed that money laundering schemes spreading to BC Lottery casinos were related to Chinese organized crime networks. According to data provided by Mr. German in his report, an amount of no less than CAU$100 million was laundered in the province’s casinos through loan sharks and Chinese VIP gamblers.

The dangerous practice must be stopped. That is why earlier in August, Mr. Eby asked the Liberal Government for some help in the battle against money laundering. Considering the fact that Peter German’s report showed that the local gambling sector has not been the only industry affected by illegal money laundering practices, the investigation spreads to other sectors as well.

The second stage of the money-laundering probe headed by the Attorney General of British Columbia is set to start in September. The investigation is now expected to spread to the real-estate market of Metro Vancouver in order to check some suspected criminal activity.