Cullen Commission’s query into alleged money cleaning activities in British Columbia video gaming properties has heard the long-awaited statement of Chief law officer David Eby. On Monday, Mr. Eby testified that the British Columbia Lottery Corporation and its regulator had substantial distinctions on the issue, and he was hesitant on who to trust. He claimed that there was a significant distinction in what details he was given from different operatives.
Mr. Eby has been the most recent government official to give testament in Cullen’s Commission public questions. Previously previous B.C. premier has shared experience from her term and former financing minister Mike de Jong and former minister Shirley Bond. The commission has a deadline of December to assemble its complete report and decision on the money laundering problem.
The Chief law officer discussed that the Crown corporation and the Video gaming Policy Enforcement Branch had different stories about the cash laundering scenario in the province’s gambling establishments. He stated that Crown authorities claimed that they had a top-notch anti-money laundering program. Later the regulator showed Mr. Eby video footage of gamblers bringing large quantities of money in CA$ 20 bills into the gambling establishments.
According to him, at that time, the branch was alarmed that the Crown corporation has not effectively dealt with the concerning issue. Mr. Eby further included that the regulator even demanded they take stricter measures versus the illegal activities. However, the Crown agency hesitated to implement them.
In 2017, the Chief law officer brought a previous attorney and RCMP deputy commissioner Peter German to perform a report on the suspicious cash activities supposedly connected to organized crime groups. According to Mr. German’s report, over CA$ 100 million has been cleaned in the province’s gaming centers for the last years. The report also recommended significant miscorrelations between the Crown and the GPEB.
When the report was published in 2018, the United States Attorney General declared that the Liberal government disregarded the issue. This Monday, Mr. Eby defended those allegations. He acknowledged that those are serious claims but continued by saying that when he contacted Mr. de Jong about the problem, his response was simply that there was no such problem.
Last Friday, on April 23, 2021, former finance mister Mr. de Jong himself had also offered testament in the general public questions. He mentioned that the allegations against the Crown corporation of prioritizing income instead of stopping the concerns were false. He also shared that it was incredibly aggravating to hear that the then-government did not act on the subject and declared that this was not the case.
Rewinding even further down the road, previous B.C. minister Shirley Bond has also given her side of the significant money-laundering scandal in the province. Ms. Bond protected the 2011 federal government by stating that back then, it had a lot on its plate, considering that gang violence, civil forfeiture, and betting addictions were hitting their peak numbers too.