Industry Reports

Real B.C. Casino Field Money-Laundering Stories Unearthed

This week is a special one for the province of British Columbia, as it sees more hearings related to casino money laundering. The Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia saw a riveting Monday filled with stories from the provincial casino locations and their practices throughout the years. The Crown corporation overseeing the field also had its representatives speaking.

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 providing insights. Steve Beeksma, a British Columbia Lottery Corporation Anti-Money Laundering Project Specialist, shared more information on the provincial practices.

Steve Beeksma

Mr. Beeksma had the chance to shed more light on the regular practices regarding money laundering and the eventual impact they had on the local gambling field. He has information on the staff members at River Rock Casino in Richmond, one of the locations considered being the largest laundromats in Canada’s gambling field.

He had the chance to monitor everything happening at the gambling hotspot as he was a casino surveillance staffer at the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation’s venue. Mr. Beeksma recalled situations when casino managers have expressed their concerns regarding the questioning of high rollers in progress. British Columbia Lottery Corporation was conducting a thorough probe at the time and needed more information on the subject, suspecting that money laundering was in progress.

The complaints alleged that the probe which took place back in 2012 was a rather aggressive one for the high rollers. Mr. Beeksma along with Ross Alderson, also an investigator at the Crown corporation, had a meeting with Vice-President Terry Towns. The latter advised them to put an end to the interviews with casino high rollers showcasing the so-called refining currency practice. Mr. Beeksma pointed out that he believes that the casino management was concerned by the questioning.

Cullen Commission

He said that his understanding was that high rollers making their way there might have been worried by the interviews into their gambling habits exhibited on the premises of the casino venue. River Rock Casino had been witnessing cash transactions reaching up to CA$800,000 over that period, mainly including CA$20 bills wrapped with elastic bands.

Mr. Beeksma also pointed out that back around the turn of the century, the staff members at another casino in Richmond were advised to allow loan sharks to continue their daily operation with high rollers. Previous probes on the subject of money laundering showcased that Paul King Jin was one of the loan sharks operating in the Richmond region. He was recently targeted in a shooting that left his partner Jian Jun Zhu dead.

It should be pointed out that Mr. Beeksma also pointed out that the casino operator overseeing the gambling locations was reporting all suspicious transactions taking place on the premises of its casinos. This week is also going to hear from Stone Lee, a BCLC investigator and also a former Great Canadian Gaming Corporation surveillance manager, as well as Gord Friesen, a former BCLC manager of investigations and former RCMP officer.