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Anti-money laundering expert Peter German’s watershed report on money laundering in Metro Vancouver casinos was finally published on June 27.

In Dirty Money, former RCMP deputy commissioner German recommended the B.C. NDP government launch a new Crown corporation to regulate gambling in the province, because the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch is bogged-down by bureaucracy and embroiled in constant conflict with the B.C. Lottery Corporation. He also recommended a dedicated police force with officers deployed at casinos.

David Eby, the Attorney General who ordered the report, did not give a timeline for the adoption of those recommendations. Eby conceded that this was not a fault-finding mission; some accountability was sacrificed by doing a six-month review, rather than a full, multi-year public inquiry. He left BCLC CEO Jim Lightbody in his job. In 2007, in a smaller scandal, the Ombudsperson’s report on lottery retail fraud caused the firing of CEO Vic Poleschuk. 

GPEB general manager John Mazure departed his post, but Eby emphatically stated that it was unrelated to German’s review.

German estimated more than $100 million has been laundered through casinos here, driven by transnational organized criminals in China and Latin America. It involved the illegal drug trade and Vancouver real estate. He called the River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond the “epicentre of activity,” but said no large casino was untouched. 

The previous BC Liberal government did not heed warnings that loan sharking was leading to money laundering. It shut down a dedicated squad of police detectives in 2009. A new one was announced in 2016, but it was too little, too late.

On this edition of Podcast, listen to highlights of Eby and German’s June 27 news conference. 

Also: commentaries and headlines from around the Pacific Rim and Pacific Northwest, and a salute to the 151st anniversary of Canada’s confederation. 

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