Latest information surfacing from this week’s installment of the Cullen Commission’s inquiry into money laundering investigation, with several current and former operatives giving testimony. From which we learned that a River Rock executive tried to cover up a sexual assault committed by one of the casino’s high-rolling VIP players, also the staff member avoided contacting the police.
According to commission lawyer Alison Latimer, River Rock Casino was pointed as a venue that was not complying with the measures aiming to stop organized criminal groups from using dirty money in B.C. facilities. This was allowed due to the casino bending rules around big cash transactions and the venue being involved in several controversies through the years.
River Rock Casino’s Shenanigans
Ms. Latimer also added that despite ongoing investigations of money washing in the province, River Rock Casino did not report 266 suspicious cash transactions due to staff not considering any amount below CA$50,000 as questionable. Current CEO of the Crown corporation Terrance Doyle responded to the finding by that the personnel did not consider the sums suspicious due to gamblers playing in a reasonable manner.
More information coming from the inquiry hears that VIP-room manager Lisa Gao from the casino has had a relationship with Li Lin Sha who has allegedly made around 450 big cash transactions, who presents himself as a wealthy coal miner. According to Derek Dickson investigator from the B.C. gaming enforcement branch, the VIP client was one of the most active in the casinos from 2010.
BCLC’s investigator Ross Alderson sent a report to Mr. Doyle in March 2017 which stated that back in 2016 Li Lin Sha and Lisa Gao showed up intoxicated in a River Rock Casino VIP room where the Chinese crime lord sexually assaulted a casino staff member. Ms. Gao has made sure that the police authorities were not contacted in order to cover up the issue.
The VIP room manager was also closely monitored by the lottery corporation on the basis of several other incidents. Such as another drunken assault on a casino employee, in 2017, when Ms. Gao has approved a CA$200,000 suspicious transaction made by an already banned VIP from the casino’s premises. In Ms. Latimer’s findings, we learn of another example where Ms. Gao has vouched for a suspicious individual with an unknown source of cash.
Crown Agency Welcomed Questionable Cash
The inquiry also heard testimony from former Great Canadian employee Walter Soo who admitted that the company did not mind unregulated cash being used in the casinos. Mr. Soo was head of the corporation’s VIP program, where he was assigned the task of attracting high-rolling Chinese players, many of which were playing in Richmond’s River Rock Casino.
Concerns Over Income Losses
The current CEO of BCLC Jim Lightbody was also probed by the commission’s lawyers on why the Crown corporation took its time before implementing the proposed anti-money laundering protocols. Mr. Lightbody’s argument was that the agency did not want to implement the source of income measure due to concern over revenue losses. Since many high rolling players did not want to declare their sources of cash due to cultural motives.
Source: Cooper, Sam “Great Canadian Gaming staff tried to ‘smooth’ over sexual assault involving high roller: inquiry”, Global News, February 10, 2021