Cullen’s Commission takes another bizarre turn, as after two years, the B.C. money laundering hearings are coming to end this week. The lawyer of the notorious loan shark Paul King Jin, Greg DelBigio has advised the commission to implement stricter anti-money laundering protocols and bigger RCMP involvement to tackle the problem.
The commission headed by Justice Austin Cullen is wrapping up hearings for its inquiry into money laundering that allegedly took place in B.C. casinos. And on Tuesday, the inquiry heard oral and written closing submissions of Mr. Jin’s lawyer, who said that his client was investigated by the RMCP but he was never charged.
During the Tuesday hearing, Mr. DelBigio said that there was never enough evidence to prosecute his client. He also advised Justice Cullen to be equally careful with calls for greater law enforcement powers. The lawyer believes that the RCMP needed more tools and fewer restrictions when tackling the issue of money laundering in the B.C. casinos.
Previously, Mr. Jin applied to keep a 653-page overview of lawsuits and allegations against him out of the evidence, however, his attempt was unsuccessful. The overview includes information about loans connected to “high-risk” gamblers, who have been involved in suspicious transactions with enormous cash buy-ins at the province’s casinos.
According to the document, Mr. Jin explains in an affidavit that he is in the business of private lending, he also failed to force the Commission to supply him with an order that the term loan shark does not apply to him. His lawyers stated that Mr. Jin is still defending himself against the civil forfeiture claims and evidence from the inquiry suggests that there could be an ongoing investigation against him.
BCCLA lawyer Jessica Magonet stated that there have been several suggestions to increase surveillance and information sharing during the Commission’s term. However, she is not convinced that the changes would be able to tackle the money washing issue and she believes that it would be too expensive and collude with privacy rights.
On Tuesday, the inquiry also heard one of the most shocking pieces of evidence that money laundering did take place at the casinos. According to a RCMP investigation in 2012, Starlight Casino and River Rock Casino also had a major part in the money laundering process as the two casinos even battled for the patronage of a prominent loan shark Li Lin Sha and even created specifically designed VIP rooms for him.
In September, the commission was able to hear again testimonies from the former director of anti-money laundering operation Ross Alderson who finally answered the inquiry’s calls. According to Mr. Alderson back in 2010 he noticed a suspicious cash transaction at River Rock Casino and tried to intervene, but he was stopped by the casino’s manager. He was told that he had no jurisdiction to question gamblers about their source of income.
Source: Proctor, Jason “Lawyer for alleged loan shark cautions money laundering inquiry against calls for more enforcement”, CBC, October 19, 2021