Casino News

Cullen Commission Money Laundering Hearing Takes a Moving Turn

Emotions got the better of former British Columbia Lottery Corporation vice-president Robert Kroeker, in Tuesday’s most recent episode of drama during the public inquiry into money laundering. Kroeker’s voice cracked during his second day of testimony when explaining his experience and politics when he was Vice-president of the Crown Corporation not long ago.

The former VP of BCLC needed some time to recollect his thought and contain his emotions, during his testimony on Tuesday. But his voice still cracked a few times from the emotions of how the corporation dealt with the reoccurring money laundering activities even after knowing about them. He described his experience as “devastating” for both him and his team to not be able to respond to these money laundering activities. 

Who Is to Blame?

Last November, former Mountie and gaming investigator, Larry Vander Graaf, made the bold claim that more than a decade ago the British Columbia-based corporation did not react in time in order to protect the integrity of the gaming industry from such money laundering schemes. In his words, large and suspicious amounts of cash have been used in local casinos ever since 2007.

In his testimony, Kroeker claimed that on the first day in the corporation as Vice-President in 2015, he received a presentation on suspicious big-figure amounts of cash that were used in different casinos in the province. He also stated that back then he reviewed a document that had info on corporation’s operatives who were reluctant to address police concerns of such suspicious activities. 

B.C. Government lawyer Jacqueline Hughes raised the question of whether at that point The BCLC was aware of the use the enormous amounts of money in cash on the casinos’ premises, to which Kroeker responded positively. It is believed that the corporation had concerns that it might not be the best for publicity if the media knew about the ongoing criminal activities. 

On Monday Kroeker claimed that in 2017, Attorney General David Eby started to seem detached in the anti-corruption under-goings. At first Eby’s office refused to comment on the situation but in a Tuesday’s statement, the office commented that the government’s actions to deal with money laundering activities – “speak for itself”. Kroeker believes that the money laundering issue in the B.C. province was used as a tool by the two main parties to criticize one another.

Monday’s Hearing

As already mentioned on Monday Robert Kroeker testified that Attorney-General David Eby started to look more and more disinterested in fighting criminal activities in the gambling industry. The former VP of BCLC stated that he noticed Eby’s indifference in a 2017 briefing on the subject of anti-money laundering operations. Kroeker added that the Attorney-General even disparaged a report by an anti-money laundering official, purely on the base of the specialist’s name.

Cullen’s Commission

From another hearing of the Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, organized Asian crime groups became too powerful after 2010, which made the investigations back then dangerous for the authorities. With reports of Asian gang members being able to launder around CA$200 million annually, this was accomplished by the help of casino officials, and apparently even using huge sums of money bags consisting of CA$20 bills.

Meissner, Dirk
“Ex-lottery VP testifies money laundering ‘politically charged,’ gets emotional”, North Shore News, January 26, 2021