Industry Reports

Probes into Illegal Money Laundering Schemes in BC Casinos and Other Economy Sectors Still Ongoing

The last fifteen months have been critical for the province of British Columbia in terms of gambling, as the illegal money-laundering schemes which involved local casinos have been expanding further and further.

Only a few days after BC Attorney General David Eby took over the job in the summer of 2017, he made a warning to everyone involved in the Vancouver model, a scheme thanks to which some of the casinos in the province of British Columbia were used to wash illegal money amounting to over CA$100 million during the past ten years. Later, in an interview for the Guardian, Mr. Eby explained that the volume and the size of the illegal money transactions which have happened for years in local casinos were literally breathtaking.

As already revealed by Casino Reports, the Provincial Government rolled out some measures aimed at tackling the illegal money-laundering scheme and its effects. Mr. Eby’s office entitled Peter German, a former member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and a money-laundering expert, with the task to carry out an independent investigation into the scheme. Mr. German’s first report was officially unveiled to the wider public in June 2018, revealing details about the scheme and some of the individuals involved in it.

It became clear that the unlawful money-laundering practice was linked with wealthy Chinese citizens who were aimed at bypassing the currency controls in their own country. The investigation also found that international criminal organizations were also involved in the scheme, in which British Columbia casinos were used as “laundromats” for illegal money.

BC Government’s Probe Spreads to Real Estate Market as Well

The probe held across BC casinos found that suitcases filled with money were literally dragged into the venues, where they have been used to buy casino chips. As a result, any gambling losses generated were brought to provincial coffers, while winnings came out as clean money. According to the report presented by Mr. German, the scheme has given criminals the chance to end up with a lot of money transferred into their bank accounts across the world.

Reportedly, the practice is believed to have begun in 2009, with the illegal practice reaching its culmination over the next few years, until 2015, when stricter scrutiny was brought to local casinos by police and media. As Casino Reports has already revealed, Mr. German suggested that institutional discord and flawed regulation were not the only ones to blame for the fact that money-laundering has spread in British Columbia casinos. It was also the casinos’ “greed” that facilitated the schemes and made it possible.

For the time being, the British Columbia Attorney General has still not ruled out a public inquiry into money laundering schemes in the province’s casinos. What is more, a new investigation into the illegal practice in BC will spread not only across the local casino sector but on other economy sectors as well.

At the end of September, the real estate sector of the province was unveiled as the next industry which would be subjected to the competent authorities’ probe, which is planned to crack down on dirty money transactions through the British Columbian housing market, which is currently the most expensive property market on the territory of Canada.