Industry Reports

B.C. Money Laundering Saga Links Casino Loan Shark to Local Housing Market

British Columbia became notoriously known for its lax money laundering regulations and the billions of Canadian dollars laundered via its casino and housing markets.

A recent probe seeking more information on the subject revealed that the mastermind behind a Chinese cartel called Big Circle Boys previously identified as a River Rock Casino high-roller allegedly laundered dirty cash via Richmond Liberal MP Joe Peschisolido’s law firm.

The province has been known for its casino field regulations that made it easy for Chinese high-rollers to take over the field and utilize every gaming opportunity available. Ever since the early 2000s, River Rock Casino has been among the preferred locations for gaming by VIP players willing to gamble with higher bets and better chances of winning big.

Casino staff confirmed that those players usually arrived on site accompanied by a second individual with a bag of CA$20 that fueled their gambling sessions.

Housing Market Enables Money Laundering

An ongoing probe might have come across a controversial situation involving a Metro Vancouver condo development and a substantial amount of cash supposedly washed by the Chinese high-roller previously linked to casino money laundering.

Richmond Liberal MP Joe Peschisolido enabled the bare trust transaction back in 2011 in relation to a 3.7-acre parcel of land. Kwok Chung Tam is internationally known as a drug trafficking convict that had a conditional sentence to his name by the time of the money transaction.

His name is also linked to the Big Circle Boys, drug cartel operating in Mainland China. With the help of this bare trust arrangement, Mr. Tam was able to maintain a secret his relation to the Coquitlam CA$14.8 million property purchase. British Columbia Lottery Corporation revealed documents that shed more light onto the subject.

Mr. Tam was identified as a so-called loan shark, the individual offering cash money for VIP gambling. When it comes to the casino field of British Columbia, the Vancouver model is among the preferred by criminals approaches to money laundering.

Public Inquiry Would Highlight Weak Spots

A public inquiry would aim to reveal more about the money laundering opportunities on a provincial level and the law firm previously overseen by Mr. Peschisolido could draw the attention. It could be recalled that the month of April gave green light to a public inquiry seeking to highlight the potential weak spots that allow laundering of drug trafficking proceeds and other types of dirty cash.

This public inquiry will aim to prevent money laundering from happening in the casino field, as well as the housing market. Bare trusts will also be part of the process of seeking loopholes. It could be recalled that Dr. Peter German’s second report which revealed that about CA$7.4 billion was laundered via the local housing market and gaming field over the span of 2018 solely.

Officials such as Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West, Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver, and Vancouver Coun. Christine Boyle supported this approach. According to the documents obtained by British Columbia Lottery Corporation, as many as 21 suspicious money transactions performed at River Rock Casino have been linked to Mr. Tam. The alleged link has not been tested in court for the time being and this is a development that would take place in the foreseeable future.