The Cullen’s Commission headed by Justice Austin Cullen continues its inquiry into money laundering activities that have allegedly occurred in British Columbia casinos. The commission gathers more testimony and evidence on the subject for its final report as former provincial premier Christy Clark has given her set of testimony this Tuesday.
The inquiry has already heard testaments from series of gambling industry operatives including former British Columbia Lottery Corporation’s former employees. Recently the RCMP has also shared more information from its investigations, but the commission fears that the collected evidence so far might not be enough to make a final decision on the matter.
Former B.C. premier Christy Clark stated at her testimony that she was not warned about the rise in money laundering activities by her government until 2015. She further explained that when the news reached her the criminal activity was considered at its apex period but she added that the provincial government believed the rise was due to staff training and more detailed monitoring.
Ms. Clark has defended the actions of the then-government. In 2015, Mike de Jong’s concerns led to the creation of the Joint Illegal Gaming Investigation Team. However, she was asked why was not the task force launched in 2011 since the issue has been known since then. She responded that the task force was created in 2015 because it was then when it reached Mr. de Jong’s office and the illegal activity was in its surge.
The former Liberal premier has also denied earlier claims that politicians were unwilling to tackle the money laundering issue at an earlier stage since it was beneficial for the province. She also stated that she was not familiar with the common appearance of large cash transactions of CA$20 bills between 2012 and 2015. But in her words, the government was working on implementing rules to stop the flow of big cash buy-ins.
Then, Ms. Clark was asked whether she would have acted quicker if she was aware of the seriousness of the problem, to which she responded that she cannot give answers to what might have happened. However, she insisted that her cabinet has performed significant actions against the problem when she was in office.
No Influence on Reports
Previous set of the April testimonies saw former RCMP officer and author of two money laundering reports Peter German shared his testament on the case. Mr. German has firmly denied that his reports were politically driven since at a time he was working for British Columbia’s Attorney-General David Eby. Mr. German assured that his reports were entirely based on his own findings and understandings.
After Ms. Clark’s latest testimony, the Cullen Commission is preparing for more political input on the inquiry. The schedule suggests that this month the inquiry will hear more testaments on the matter as former B.C. Liberal cabinet ministers Rich Coleman, Michael de Jong, and Kash Heed will take part in the testimonies. Attorney General Eby himself is also scheduled to share his side of the story.
Source: Schmunk, Rhianna “Former B.C. premier says government didn’t alert her to rise in money laundering until 2015”, CBC, April 20, 2021