Last week’s testimonies in Cullen Commission’s public inquiry into money laundering has heard testament from former B.C. cabinet minister Kash Heed. He addressed the recordings of him channeling serious assertions regarding former gaming minister Rich Coleman as just an opinion rather than based on facts. In 2018, Mr. Heed was recorded saying that RCMP officials were puppets in the hands of the then minister Coleman.
Mr. Heed has been the latest political figure to give testimony last week at the public inquiry. The commission has been tasked with determining whether the alleged money laundering activities in the province’s casino properties have occurred and whether they continue to this day. Headed by Justice Austin Cullen the inquiry has a December 15 deadline date to compile its final report on the matter.
”Meant to Stay Private“
Mr. Heed has commented on the recorded phone call between him and his friend Fred Pinnock who is an ex RCMP officer and once led the Integrated Illegal Gaming Enforcement Team. The former minister stated that the conversation was meant to be private between two friends and his assertions were based on his personal opinion and not on first-hand knowledge or experience.
Both are friends since the early ‘80s, and last November Mr. Pinnock stated that in 2009 Mr. Heed claimed that Mr. Coleman has a major part in the inability to deal with money laundering and that senior RCMP operatives are also to blame. However, the former did not record the meeting in question but stated that he taped three conversations with Mr. Heed in 2018.
According to one of the recordings, the former minister was heard describing the former local government as “the most unethical group of people you can imagine”. Mr. Heed responded to the tape by claiming that his remarks were entirely based on rumors and media reports he had seen after leaving the solicitor general’s office.
The former minister has also claimed he being recorded without his consent was morally repulsive and that there is a huge difference in what he said in the 2018 phone calls and the 2009 meeting with Mr. Pinnock. The former minister insisted that the assertions were just part of a conversation with a friend and it was his personal opinion rather than facts.
Previous testimonies saw Mr. Coleman giving testament himself. The former British Columbia denied that the province’s government has put higher revenue numbers ahead of dealing with the money washing issue. He claimed that he never heard or saw someone suggesting to allow the issue to continue for the benefit of the government. He has also claimed that back then he did not possess enough authority to order what and when should be investigated.
Prior to that, Attorney General David Eby has also testified at the public money laundering inquiry. He stated that the British Columbia Lottery Corporation and its regulator the GPEB had a major difference in the information that they were reporting to him. Mr. Eby also claimed that the Crown agency was offered some precautionary measures by the branch, but it was unwilling to adopt them for quite a while.
Source: Schmunk, Rhianna “Ex-minister says comments accusing officials of ignoring money laundering were meant to stay private” CBC, April 30, 2021