Casino News

Ex-BCLC’s VP Allegedly Sought Lax Anti-Money Laundering Rules

In Wednesday’s episode of the Cullen’s Commission, executive director of investigations for the B.C. Gaming Policy Enforcement Branch Cary Skrine testified that back in 2019 former VP of BCLC Robert Kroeker asked the anti-money laundering team to “loosen rules”. However, Wednesday’s inquiry finds that those allegations remain unproven since there is not enough evidence to support the claims.

In Skrine’s testimony, we hear that back in 2019 he was tasked with investigating a complaint into the B.C. Crown Corporation, on the grounds that Robert Kroeker has asked the anti-money laundering team to alleviate measurers of investigating casino cash transactions. Until this moment the allegations remain unsubstantiated due to lack of evidence.

Skrine’s Testimony

We learn from Skrine, that anti-money laundering investigator Ross Alderson and two other officials were told by Kroeker to loosen rules while investigating suspicious amounts of cash transactions. In Skrine’s words, Alderson asked both staff to record notes in a meeting where the alleged comments were made by Kroeker, unfortunately, both of them failed to do so, and later even denied being present of such comments by Kroeker.

From Wednesday’s inquiry, it became known to the public, that organized Asian crime groups were using loan sharks to provide “VIP” Chinese high-rollers with alleged drug cash with which they will be able to buy chips in casinos. River Rock Casino in Richmond was specifically mentioned as an example of such illegal activities.

The enforcement branch started to suspect that bank drafts were also used as a way to launder money in B.C. casinos. According to Skrine, this was possible, due to the fact that bank drafts could be deposited in casino accounts anonymously. He also stated that he was surprised to find out in his discussion on the subject in 2019 with Kroeker, that the former VP did not consider those bank drafts as a vulnerability to casinos in the province.

We also learn from Skrine’s testimony that Kroeker shared information on reviewing hundreds of bank drafts where nothing out of the ordinary was found, and thus accepted by the casinos. In 2018 British Columbia’s authorities have finally introduced a rule which states that the gamblers had to declare the source of their funds, and ever since then the cases of suspicious cash amounts have dropped.

Tuesday’s Hearing

Tuesday’s hearing saw another turn in the money laundering investigations by the Cullen’s Commission when former Vice-president of British Columbia Lottery Corporation Robert Kroeker gave his testimony in the case. Kroeker’s voice cracked during his testimony while responding to allegations that the corporation did not react in time to stop anti-money laundering activities, during the time he was in charge of the BCLC.

Attorney-General David Eby

Former Vice-President of BCLC, Robert Kroeker even accused Attorney-General David Eby of becoming detached in the subject of preventing money laundering operations, which Robert noticed way back in a 2017 meeting on the beforementioned problem. In his words, Eby became less and less interested in dealing with the problem ever since the NDP came into power in 2017.

Source: Cooper, Sam
“Allegation that former Lottery Corp. boss told staff to ‘loosen’ anti-money laundering rules unfounded: inquiry”, Global News, January 27, 2021