The British Columbia Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering continues with the daily hearings revealing more regarding the local gambling field and its practices. This week saw a conversation with Bruce Wallace, Manager of Strategic Policy and Reviews for the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, in relation to money laundering.
This week brought more insights into the gaming field and the ways in which money laundering could be facilitated by gaming venues. It swerved towards lawyers and the ways in which they could potentially facilitate money laundering without even realizing it. As of 2020, lawyers are exempt from the law aiming to put an end to money laundering, thanks to the Federation of Law Societies of Canada’s efforts.
Mr. Wallace said this week that large cash transactions handled by lawyers can potentially result in money laundering. He said that real-estate transactions including large amounts of money often make them vulnerable to the criminal practice of washing dirty money. The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada is focused on casino locations.
If a patron brings a buy-in larger than CA$10,000, the casino location is obligated to report this cash transaction, prompting further investigation. When it comes to lawyers and law firms, their exemption from the law means that the FINTRAC can keep a close eye on them, but that should not interfere with its main focus. The Federation of Law Societies represents some 14 law societies across Canada.
Executive Director of Policy and Public Affairs, Frederica Wilson, said that money laundering is a concerning practice which is being taken seriously by the federation and prevented from happening. She also added that the federal government is currently working on new constitutional legislation that will further help lawyers in their daily work with cash transactions. This week was also special because it saw a highly-anticipated cross-examination.
Fred Pinnock Answers Questions
Former B.C. cabinet minister Kash Heed recently received limited participant status, giving him the right to as Fred Pinnock some questions linked to the latter’s hearing earlier this month. Mr. Heed requested a participant status in the hearing. This essentially gave him the opportunity to cross-examine Mr. Pinnock in relation to his previous statements. The Cullen Commission gave him the right to do so for 90 minutes and this conversation took place this Tuesday.
Fred Pinnock, former commander of British Columbia’s anti-illegal gaming unit, revealed a private conversation dating back to 2009. It alleged that Rich Coleman, the minister responsible for gambling back in 2009, demonstrated a rather revenue-oriented attitude towards gambling in British Columbia. Mr. Pinnock pointed out that the comment was made by then-solicitor general Kash Heed, reflecting his own opinion on the subject.
The recorded conversations have not been publicly issued as of now, as Former Associate Chief Justice of the B.C. Supreme Court Austin Cullen said that he has to hear more submissions on the subject. Mr. Heed said that he had not expressed the aforementioned alleged opinions and that he had no personal knowledge on which to base them back in 2009.