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HomeBusinessAfter money laundering probe heard last witness, NDP installed real estate exec as casino board chair

After money laundering probe heard last witness, NDP installed real estate exec as casino board chair


Bob Mackin

The B.C. Lottery Corporation’s new chair is a real estate development executive with a company related to a Chinese cigarette printer registered in an offshore tax haven.

Greg Moore on the Great Wall of China (Facebook)

NDP finance minister Selina Robinson named former Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore the new head of the province’s Crown gambling corporation on May 21, exactly a week after the Cullen Commission on money laundering wrapped-up witness testimony.

The 2019-established judicial public inquiry heard evidence of huge currency outflows from China ending up in B.C. casinos and real estate, leading to loan sharking and a housing affordability crisis. Commissioner Austin Cullen’s findings and recommendations are due in December.

Moore replaces 2018-appointed BCLC chair Peter Kappel. His term runs through October 2023. In 2018, Moore retired from 10 years as PoCo mayor and seven years as chair of Metro Vancouver. Then-gambling minister David Eby appointed Moore to the BCLC board in November 2018. He became the interim CEO in 2019 and 2020 while Jim Lightbody battled cancer.

At the start of this year, Moore joined the 2020-incorporated Icona Properties as CEO. He had been seeking real estate opportunities since late in his political career. At a September 2018 Urban Development Institute lunch, Moore and retiring Vision Vancouver Coun. Raymond Louie told real estate executives they were looking for work in their industry.

“We want to try to bring value to the development process,” Moore said at the event. “We know what it’s like to sit at this side of the table and what politicians are thinking going through that process.”

Icona’s parent is January 2020-incorporated Icona Holdings Ltd., whose only director is Tony Xiao Xing Cai. The Simon Fraser University graduate is the CEO of Brilliant Circle Group Development Ltd., which changed its name to Gilic Global Developments in 2019.

Gilic bought 232 acres in Ioco from Imperial Oil in 2015 with a vision to build a community from scratch. Gilic also wants to build a 46-storey, flatiron-style condo skyscraper where West Georgia and Pender streets converge in downtown Vancouver.

David Cai (Brilliant Circle Group)

Gilic’s only director is Cai’s older brother, David Xiao Ming Cai. 

David Cai is the former chair of Hong Kong-based Brilliant Circle Group. He resigned in March 2020, but remains the controlling shareholder of the company, which has five locations in Mainland China and is registered in the Cayman Islands.

In 2009, according to the annual report for printing company CT Holdings (International) Ltd., both Cai brothers and their father, Tsoi Tak, were appointees to municipal arms of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. 

Moore did not respond for comment.

BCLC revenue plummeted almost a billion dollars last fiscal year because the pandemic closed casinos. Limited re-opening could begin as soon as July 1. 

A statement from the Ministry of Finance said Moore was required to disclose any actual or perceived conflicts of interest, under BCLC policy.

“As a previous BCLC board member and now chair, Mr. Moore was vetted through the Crown Agencies and Board Resourcing Office (CABRO). CABRO is responsible for establishing best practice guidelines for appointees to public sector organizations like the BCLC,” said the ministry statement.

Greg Moore in China wanted to know whether Moore specifically disclosed his connections to Icona and Gilic, or whether the ministry conducted independent due diligence. It did not answer.

In May 2017, Moore traveled to China on a junket co-ordinated by China’s Vancouver consulate and sponsored by businessman James Wu of the Canada China City and Town Friendship Association.

So-called townsmen organizations and sponsored business trips for foreign politicians are part of the playbook of the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front foreign influence program.

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