Industry Reports

BC Attorney General Does Not Rule Out Public Inquiry into Money Laundering in Local Casinos

The British Columbia Attorney General David Eby shared that public inquiry into the province’s casino money laundering case remains possible.

In an interview with The Vancouver Sun and The Province, Mr. Eby discussed a wide range of topics, including one of the hottest issues in the province, namely the possibility of a thorough casino inquiry into money laundering in BC casinos. As revealed in a Research Co. poll published last week, three-quarters of the participants in the survey want the BC Government to hold a public inquiry into money laundering across the province’s casinos.

According to the BC Attorney General, the decision on whether to hold a full public casino inquiry on the issue could largely depend on the results of the meeting of the BC officials with the former illegal gambling investigator in September.

The former head of the province’s Integrated Illegal Gambling Enforcement Team, Fred Pinnock, and his lawyer are set to meet with the outside counsel hired by the Government of British Columbia. Mr. Eby pledged that the investigators will take all the time they need in order to get the necessary information on the matter.

Pinnock Blames Former Liberal Government for Taking Advantage of the Issue

The alleged money laundering in British Columbia’s casinos has been in the headlines of local and global media for almost a year now, as it was in September 2017 when the BC Attorney General ordered an independent casino review on the matter. The investigation conducted by the former Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) deputy commissioner Peter German, however, was intended to be merely a fact-finding one.

In July, Fred Pinnock cast some accusations on the former Liberal Government of the province, blaming them for failing to stop the illegal activity in local casinos. But most importantly, Mr. Pinnock blamed BC officials for knowing what was going on and literally doing nothing to stop it. The commentary on the money-laundering case was the first time Mr. Pinnock spoke in public for almost a decade, claiming that the then-Government took no measures to stop the illegal money flow despite the fact it was very well aware of the problem.

The BC Attorney General explained that these allegations are very serious and need to be proved, but if Mr. Pinnock manages to do so, holding a public inquiry into the case will remain as a possibility. Apart from that, Mr. Eby also spoke about the next phase of Mr. German’s probe, which is to include a planned investigation into the importance that money associated with criminal activity had for the local real estate market.

Allegedly, money laundering schemes were carried out not only across BC casinos but to other economy sectors as well. Mr. German’s investigation also showed that other BC sectors could be vulnerable to money laundering, especially the local housing market, horse racing, money service and luxury cars businesses.