The Cullen Commission continues its search for answers as it collects testimony in its British Columbia money laundering public inquiry. The inquiry has held a major set of testimonies at the end of April as several current and former political figures have been questioned. And despite already interrogating former minister Richard Coleman, the commission has summoned him again.
Led by Justice Austin Cullen is investigating the alleged money laundering activities in British Columbia where organized crime groups used casino and real estate sectors to wash their crime-originated money. According to reports, millions have been laundered in the province’s casino properties for the last 15 or more years, and the commission is tasked with finding a way to prevent further similar activities.
Former British Columbia gaming minister Richard Coleman has now been recalled to testify again at the public inquiry, informed the commission. Mr. Coleman has most recently given his testament at the inquiry on April 28, 2021, but now he has been summoned again. Some serious accusations were directed at him such as turning a blind eye to the money laundering problem and controlling the RCMP.
At his testimony, the former gaming minister defended himself and the then government. He insisted that he did not purposefully ignore the issue and has never interfered with the RCMP’s investigation on the case. He also denied the claims that back then the BCLC and the government were prioritizing cash flow from the money laundering activities instead of tackling the problem.
Previously, former RCMP officer Fred Pinnock accused Mr. Coleman of not seeking enough police involvement in the money laundering investigations as he disbanded the province’s anti-illegal gaming unit in 2009. The inquiry has also heard of a conversation between Mr. Pinnock and his lifelong friend former solicitor-general Kash Heed, as the former has also blamed Mr. Coleman for inaction on the issue.
The now-former gaming minister Mr. Coleman has been summoned to testify yet again after the serious accusations against him. His testimony is scheduled to be only one hour this time and it will be held in a week time on May 14 at 12 noon. The commission has a deadline until December 15 to provide its final and full report on the money laundering case.
Previously, Mr. Heed responded to the conversations between him and Mr. Pinnock which the latter has recorded in 2018. In the recordings, Mr. Heed describes the former B.C. government and Mr. Coleman as “the most unethical group of people you can imagine”. However, Mr. Heed replied that his claims were entirely based on his opinion and not on facts.
Attorney General David Eby has also been summoned as a witness to the commission’s inquiry. In his statements, Mr. Eby said that there was a major difference in the information that was reported to him by the Crown Corporation and its regulator the GPEB. Mr. Eby explained that the branch proposed anti-money laundering measures to the Crown, however, the latter was unwilling to implement them.
Source: Judd, Amy “Former B.C. gaming minister Rich Coleman recalled by Cullen Commission”, Global News, May 5, 2021