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David Eby says BC Liberal gov't buried a report into possible money laundering at casinos

Last Updated Sep 22, 2017 at 1:51 pm PDT

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NDP government: BC Liberals buried a report that made recommendations on ways to improve anti-money laundering effort

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – More than a year after a report about possible money laundering at Richmond’s River Rock casino was delivered to the Christy Clark government, it’s been made public by the new John Horgan government, which is now ordering a more detailed review.

Attorney General David Eby says the report contains serious evidence of suspicious behaviour and the former BC Liberal government buried it.

Eby says the report makes a series of serious recommendations for reform when it comes to practices and regulatory regimes at local gaming facilities.

The report (full redacted copy below), which is more than 400 pages long, focuses on the River Rock casino in Richmond, where it’s believed several wealthy players may have been laundering money.

“Reasonable grounds to suspect Money Laundering activity through the use of unsourced funds has been confirmed by the Service Providers and BCLC through the EDD processes. Interviews have confirmed that players are indeed wealthy non-residents or business persons with interests both in Vancouver and China, coming to Vancouver to gamble,” reads the report.

It also says “River Rock staffs have fostered a culture accepting of large bulk cash transactions.”

“The use of possible underground banking operations using large volumes of unsourced cash have become increasingly common and accepted as a convenience feature for VIP players who may not be able to send funds to Canada due to currency restrictions in their own country,” the report finds.

“BCLC’s current systems and technology do not allow for analytics or system alerts for activity which is deemed to be suspicious or excessive,” it adds.

Eby says the recommendations on ways the province could improve its anti-money laundering efforts should have been made public. “I think the report should have been made public at the time that it was completed. It wasn’t, and we’re making it public today.”

The new NDP government says it will be commissioning an independent review in the coming weeks to see if there is an unaddressed or inadequately addressed issue of money laundering in Lower Mainland casinos.

BCLC CEO and President Jim Lightbody has issued a statement declaring, “We have zero tolerance for criminals who may attempt to target our business’ and promising full cooperation with the independent review.

Eby’s not saying yet when it will start.

“I’ll be making announcements about follow up steps, going forward, making sure we have the expert advice that we need to address this issue and to ensure that gaming in British Columbia continues to be conducted responsibly.”

Here is a redacted copy of the report, as provided by the BC NDP government: