Industry Reports

Could Sen. Campbell’s Board Position in Great Canadian Gaming Give Grounds for Conflict of Interest Allegations?

For a while now, the River Rock Casino in British Columbia has been considered the main gambling venue associated with money laundering carried out in the province by international crime organizations.

However, in the process of investigating the money laundering issues occurred at the BC casinos, information emerged that Senator Larry Campbell has received cash compensation estimated at over CA$800,000 and approximately CA$2.1 million worth of shares as a Great Canadian Gaming board director.

Currently, it is the Great Canadian Gaming which owns the River Rock Casino in British Columbia, so Senator Campbell’s twin role has fuelled suspicions for a conflict of interest. Despite he refused to answer some questions on the matter, Global News revealed that he is quietly leaving his role as a chairman of a local Senate committee on internal economy and budgets.

According to an e-mail obtained by Global News from some independent senators in the committee dated August 29th, Senator Larry Campbell has unveiled his intention to step down from the chair role in September 2018. It remains unclear whether his decision to leave one of the most influential positions in Senate has anything to do with the possible conflict of interest with the compensations received from Great Canadian Gaming.

BC Casinos Used as “Laundromats” to Wash Dirty Money

Senator Campbell served as mayor of Vancouver in the period from 2002 to 2005. During his tenure, he managed to break a deadlocked council in one of the most controversial issues with his deciding vote to provide Great Canadian Gaming with a permission to operate up to 600 slot machines at a Vancouver horse racetrack.

After being appointed as a Liberal senator in the province, Campbell was also appointed as a director for Great Canadian Gaming’s committee of corporate security and compliance, to which he became a chairman in June 2015.

In September 2017, however, information about massive suspicious cash flow through the River Rock Casino emerged and the Attorney General of British Columbia – David Eby – called for further investigation of the matter. An independent review of money laundering allegations was carried out by the former Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officer Peter German, who released his report a few weeks ago.

Mr. German findings show that British Columbia casinos were used by international organized crime networks based in Macau, China and Hong Kong to wash no less than CA$100 million through Chinese VIP gamblers in some private betting rooms and lawn sharks.

As far as Senator Campbell is concerned, he has repeatedly been asked for commentary on the money laundering findings made by Mr. German but refused to do so. The question is, could have the position of Mr. Campbell in Great Canadian Gaming prevented him from taking any proper measures to oversee anti-money laundering compliance of the operator. Was there a conflict of interest, considering the fact that Canadian Senators must serve the public interest, while as a corporate director of Great Canadian Gaming, Mr. Campbell was expected to serve the interest of the company’s shareholders. The fact that he left his position as a chair of the above-mentioned Senate committee without revealing that to the wider public makes the situation even more suspicious.

Casino Reports will continue to monitor the issue related to money laundering in BC casinos and is open to hearing all parties’ positions on the matter.