B.C. Lottery Corporation’s board of directors is scheduled to meet Oct. 25 in Vancouver.
In the wake of the casino money laundering scandal, will the NDP government fire and replace any directors of the BC Liberal-appointed board, before or after the meeting?
The six-member board is chaired by former Social Credit attorney general Bud Smith and includes BC Liberal friends like Dueck auto dealer Moray Keith and Century Plaza hotelier Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia.
Ex-Premier Christy Clark named Lisogar-Cocchia to the board in late 2013, despite a perceived conflict of interest. Lisogar-Cocchia’s Absolute Spa chain includes a location in the River Rock Casino Resort.
On Dec. 5, 2016 — five months before the provincial election — the board received a presentation by BCLC’s anti-money laundering director Ross Alderson, under the title “Anti-Money Laundering Training.” theBreaker obtained the below copy via the freedom of information law.
The minutes for the board meeting said the presentation covered: the stages of money laundering and the difference between money laundering and terrorist financing; the legislative framework for anti-money laundering in Canada; the role of FINTRAC, compliance program requirements; casino reporting requirements; and the due diligence process in relation to high risk customers.
Alderson’s speaking notes include some interesting insider perspective:
- “The previous minister for gaming Rich Coleman once went on record stating that ‘casino staff in B.C. will be trained to report suspicious transactions to the pollice.’ This was a little misinformed as the [Proceeds of Crime, Money Laundering and Terrorirst Financing Act] does not authorize a casino employee to report suspicious transactions to the police. BCLC does do that but only because we have an [information-sharing agreeement] with the police.”
- “Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, no one comes into a casino in an orange jump suit with a bag of cash smelling of weed or covered in white poweder or wearing an I support Hezbollah T-shirt, so reasonable grounds become very subjective.”
- “The downside of reporting to FINTRAC’s standard howerever is that paricularly in our sector, [suspicious transaction] reports are still seen by anti-gambling critics, media and even those within government as evidence of money laundering occurring within casinos.”
Substantial portions of Alderson’s presentation were censored under sections of the freedom of information law. BCLC feared disclosure would harm the effectiveness of law enforcement investigative techniques and procedures, and facilitate the commission of an offence under provincial or federal law.
The BC Liberal government suppressed information about money laundering in B.C. casinos before the election. New Attorney-General David Eby appointed University of B.C. law professor and former Mountie Peter German to investigate money laundering in Metro Vancouver casinos.