After reappearing at the Cullen’s Commission inquiry into money laundering activities in B.C. casinos to testify on Thursday, Ross Alderson was questioned again on Friday. The former anti-money laundering investigator tried to explain his actions of leaking the information about money washing at the casinos as he admitted to making an anonymous complaint in 2019 against former BCLC official Robert Kroeker.
The Cullen Commission is headed by Justice Austin Cullen and it was tasked with investing the alleged money laundering activities in the province’s casinos. So far, the inquiry has heard testimonies from numerous of former Crown corporation’s seniors, along with government and RCMP officials. The commission has to compile its final report on the case by December 15, 2021.
During last Friday’s online testaments, Mr. Alderson appealed that he made a complaint against Mr. Kroeker back in 2019, however, the complaint was deemed unsubstantiated as no one else was able to confirm his claim. He explained that the two witnesses that heard Mr. Alderson’s comment about Mr. Kroeker’s proposal to ease the money-laundering measures, did not back him up and denied the claim.
Mr. Alderson asserted that the witnesses of the comments could be straying away from the truth as they might be afraid of losing their jobs. After being questioned about further details on the meeting, he could not provide a concrete date and that his notebook would have specifics but he disposed of it. He explained that he did not want to have anything in his possession from the BCLC.
The former investigator said that Mr. Kroeker encouraged money laundering, as stated it was inevitable and the government could benefit from it by collecting money through the casinos. According to Mr. Alderson, Mr. Kroeker has said something similar to this on several occasions. He continued by saying that he always had suspicions about the big cash transaction in the casinos
He also said that when he became director of anti-money laundering operations in 2015, he was informed that the enormous cash transactions proceeded from underground banking. However, he did not agree with the interpretation. He said that he did not make accusations against other individuals from the RCMP and the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch as he did not believe he should be rude and tell them that they are not doing their jobs.
On Thursday, Mr. Alderson said that back in 2011 he tried to intervene in a case of a major cash transaction at River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond. However, the investigator was stopped by the general manager of the gaming facility and told him that he had no jurisdiction to question the casino’s patrons about their source of income or to intercept transactions.
In April, the commission has also heard testimonies from former gaming minister Richard Coleman, who was also accused of turning a blind eye to the illegal money washing undertakings. He was also accused of manipulating the RCMP and not providing enough police involvement in the investigations. Additionally, he was heavily criticized for the disbanding of the anti-illegal gaming unit in 2009.
Source: Mulgrew, Ian “Cullen inquiry: Whistleblower threw away evidence, commission hears”, The Province, September 10, 2021