The Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia is on the verge of more hearings that will transform the last days of October. Monday, October 26, is about to see the resumption of the public inquiry into money laundering in the province. The line of witnesses participating in this portion of the inquiry aims to shed more light on the subject.
It could be recalled that the last days of September saw the official announcement that the money laundering public inquiry will have to be delayed. The reason for that was the British Columbia general election. Its 42nd edition elected members of the Legislative Assembly in the Canadian province on October 24. Two days after that, the public inquiry was set to return.
The public inquiry into money laundering was originally supposed to resume on October 13. However, the very nature of these hearings has the potential to impact the integrity of the electoral process. Money Laundering Inquiry Commissioner Austin Cullen pointed out back then that preserving the independence of the commission is of utmost importance. This is what mandated the delay.
Since the hearings often create a good environment for speculation, their start on October 13 was considered inappropriate. The list of individuals that will appear on October 26 includes people that have had personal experience in the regional gambling field. They are part of the hearing as they are able to offer their unique perspective on the situations. Steve Beeksma is one of the participants in the hearing. He is a British Columbia Lottery Corporation Anti-Money Laundering Project Specialist.
Moreover, he is a former Great Canadian Gaming Corporation surveillance shift manager and he has his story to share before the commission. Another participant will be Stone Lee, a BCLC investigator and also a former Great Canadian Gaming Corporation surveillance manager. It should be taken into account that Gord Friesen, a former BCLC manager of investigations and former RCMP officer will also be part of this week’s hearings.
Now that the election is over, these and several other individuals will have the chance to speak freely and not worry about the impact on people’s choice on Election Day. Ward Clapham, former superintendent at Richmond RCMP is also expected to share his experience with the money laundering practices in British Columbia.
The Cullen Commission, as it is commonly referred to, aims to find out more regarding the money laundering practices on a provincial scale. Sectors to the likes of real estate, gaming, financial institutions, and the corporate and professional sectors have been identified as vulnerable in the overall scheme of things. Casino locations in British Columbia have been identified as laundromats in the past.
River Rock Casino in Richmond is rumored to have seen large quantities of cash being laundered by the local loan sharks fueling high rollers’ gaming activities. November 15 is projected to see an interim report focusing on everything heard so far. The month of May 2021 would potentially see the issuing of the final report the Cullen Commission has come up with after all hearings.