B.C. Lottery Corporation’s head of security and compliance for almost four years suddenly departed July 2.
A mid-afternoon internal staff memo announced the end of Rob Kroeker’s employment with the Crown corporation. A similar statement published later on the BCLC website said it was “effective today” and thanked Kroeker for his service. No reason was given.
BCLC CEO Jim Lightbody did not respond to a message from theBreaker.news.
Spokeswoman Lara Gerrits would not say when or if Kroeker gave notice and refused to confirm or deny that Kroeker had been fired. Gerrits cited the employment history clauses of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy laws. Ryan Panton, a spokesman for Attorney General David Eby, said the ministry would not comment for privacy reasons.
Asked about any severance payment to Kroeker, she said that would be in BCLC’s annual Financial Information Act report.
It is the fourth high-profile BCLC executive departure since last November, but the most-significant because it comes just over a year since Peter German’s scathing 2018 Dirty Money report on money laundering in B.C. casinos.
Taking over Kroeker’s job on an interim basis is Brad Desmarais, the vice-president of casinos. The retired RCMP and Vancouver Police officer was Kroeker’s predecessor before his 2015 promotion. Desmarais oversaw the bungled rollout of anti-money laundering software in 2013 when he was then-head of security. Kroeker, Desmarais and Lightbody attended a Macau convention on Asian gambling in 2017 while B.C.’s government was in flux.
Preceding Kroeker out the door at BCLC’s Virtual Way Vancouver office were:
- Susan Dolinski, who left last November after more than 11 years as vice-president of public affairs;
- and Monica Bohm, who left in May as vice-president of digital and enterprise services. She had been with BCLC for 11 and a half years.
Chief financial officer Amanda Hobson’s resignation was announced in an April 25 news release that included complimentary quotes from Lightbody. She is joining Finning as senior vice-president of investor relations and treasury. Her bio remains this week on the BCLC website. BCLC did not issue news releases when Dolinski and Bohm left.
According to last year’s statement of financial information, BCLC paid Kroeker $241,437 (plus $50,471 in expenses), Bohm $240,672 ($34,753), Dolinski $243,063 ($34,642) and Hobson $256,782 ($62,740).
The Kroeker, Bohm, Dolinski and Hobson departures come under the new NDP-appointed board of directors headed by former JP Morgan investment banker Peter Kappel.
Kroeker changed his LinkedIn profile to call himself a “management consultant” on July 2. By late afternoon, after BCLC confirmed his departure, his bio was finally removed from the BCLC website. Coincidentally, Kroeker left five days after BCLC’s PlayNow website briefly took bets on whether the Vancouver Canucks would extend general manager Jim Benning’s contract or fire him.
Kroeker, a former RCMP officer, joined BCLC after heading security at Great Canadian Gaming’s River Rock Casino Resort. After the NDP took over in July 2017, British Columbians learned that River Rock had been a magnet for transnational money launderers, peaking in July 2015. Kroeker had boasted in an August 2015 interview with Business in Vancouver that it would be impossible to launder money at River Rock. Meanwhile, BCLC financial reports boasted of the revenue from high stakes Asian gamblers.
Under Premier Christy Clark, the BC Liberals appointed Kroeker to the Justice Institute of B.C. board. He was forced out as chair in October of last year in the wake of the German report, which detailed how money from whale gamblers from China flowed into the illicit drug trade and real estate market.
Last week, Kroeker was on the list of registrants to attend the Trace International Bribery and Economic Crime Summit in Vancouver, where German and Attorney General David Eby were featured speakers.
Also representing BCLC at the BECS was Kevin deBruyckere, the former RCMP inspector who was the chief investigator of Project Everywhichway, the code name for the probe into the BC Rail privatization. deBruyckere joined BCLC in April after three years as HSBC’s head of anti-money laundering investigations.
Two months ago, the Horgan NDP government announced a judicial public inquiry into money laundering in B.C. Hearings are expected to begin this fall. Justice Austin Cullen has a May 2021 report deadline.
Support theBreaker.news for as low as $2 a month on Patreon. Find out how. Click here.