The Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia holds hearings every working day over the past couple of weeks and the information that has surfaced shows the true colors of the provincial gaming field. Daryl Tottenham, Manager of the British Columbia Lottery Corporation anti-money laundering programs, revealed concerning details regarding high rollers.
Over the past two weeks, the Cullen Commission has been holding daily hearings of gambling-related officials able to present their point of view and personal experience in the money laundering battle in British Columbia. The ultimate goal for the commission is to amass enough evidence for the creation of an extensive report to be issued in mid-November. Then the work on a larger report will continue.
Mr. Tottenham had the right to reveal more regarding the way in-person gambling was taking place a couple of years back and all the details surrounding it. There were concerning practices progressing for years without a change at the casino locations of British Columbia, facilitating the gambling habit of V.I.P. gaming enthusiasts making their way there.
He kept a close eye on the gambling field of the province between 2011 and 2016 and everything taking place. During the hearing this Wednesday, Mr. Tottenham pointed out that high rollers had bigger freedom to gamble and operate with six-figure cash sums on the premises of River Rock Casino in Richmond. As the Cullen Commission expected to hear, these buy-ins were introduced to the casino cage in small bills, particularly CA$20 ones.
These high rollers ready to pour substantial sums into the casino hotspot were allowed to do so and disregard the existing anti-money laundering regulations at the time. The Crown corporation Manager of such programs said that this was a common practice in progress at least up until 2015. Soon after he took the position, he came to the conclusion that there was one criminal organization taking care of the high rollers’ gambling activities.
The crime network was allegedly overseen by Kwok Chung Tam, a convicted drug trafficker who oversaw the daily operation of loan sharks such as Paul King Jin. His name is among the most recognizable ones when it comes to alleged money laundering and loans for casino patrons, as it surfaced during the E-Pirate probe.
Previous allegations highlight more concerning details, among which taking advantage of property transactions, a prostitution ring connected with an underground financial institution, numerous cases of tax evasion, an unsuccessful attempt of kidnapping a kid, as well as illegal gambling dens across various homes in Richmond. On the other hand, Mr. Tam was charged with heroin trafficking in 2000 and convicted of marijuana trafficking in 2010.
Mr. Tottenham said that high rollers had to prove their financial reliability and were then supplied with the duffel bags filled with CA$20 bills. Those were supposedly the proceeds of opioid distribution in British Columbia. June and July 2015 saw a total of 145 suspicious transactions happening on the premises of River Rock Casino. He also stated that the lack of action was mainly because BCLC was waiting for the service providers to take care of the situation on their own.