Money Laundering Inquiry Testimonies Continue

Former British Columbia gaming minister Rich Coleman has denied the allegations that revenue was prioritized during the money-laundering scandal in the province’s casino. The ex-minister defended the then-government and claimed that back then he did not possess the power to order further investigation into the casinos’ money laundering schemes.

Mr. Coleman, who is a six-time former Liberal Member of the provincial government has been the latest government official to present his testimony at the inquiry. The commission has up to December 15 to compile its final report on the money washing case and deliver a final verdict, in order to prevent the issue from reoccurring.

“Nonsense”

This week, Mr. Coleman responded to previous claims that the B.C. government was prioritizing higher revenue over resolving the money laundering issue and defined the allegations as nonsense. During his four-hour testimony, he stated that he never once witnessed someone deliberately ignore the illegal stream of revenue for the benefit of the government.

The former minister also said that at the start of 2000, officials were more alarmed with loan sharks and theft from casinos’ parking lots instead of suspicious cash transactions. This Wednesday, the former minister stated that he disbanded the RCMP’s IIGET unit on the basis that it was not that successful and that it cost plenty of money for the BCLC.

Additionally, Mr. Coleman responded to why he denied meeting with former commander Fred Pinnock of the IIGET unit. He said that the reason for that was not to deliberately avoid the subject but he considered back then that it would be stepping out of its minister bounds to have the meeting, and that there was a consultative board to assist the IIGET’s future.

Mr. Coleman has also admitted that money laundering was not on his agenda as he transferred the responsibility to the Crown corporation and its regulator GPEB. In his words, it was not up to him to order and direct how or what those official investigate. He also stated that he would not give more power and finance to the branch since he did not agree with their concerns.

Previous Witnesses

Previously Attorney General David Eby has also given testimony at the money-laundering inquiry. Mr. Eby stated that the Crown corporation and its GPEB regulator had a major contrast in the information that was given to him. He further stated that the branch was proposing some anti-money laundering measures, but the Crown agency was hesitant and unwilling to implement them.

Last week on Friday, April 23, 2021, former finance minister Mike de Jong has been given the opportunity to speak up on the money washing subject. He responded to the allegations that the Crown agency was prioritizing money flow over resolving the issue by stating that they were false. He also explained how for him was extremely frustrating to hear that the former government was deliberately stalling in acting on the matter, which according to him was also untrue.

Source: Schmunk, Rhianna “Former gaming minister dismisses ‘ridiculous’ allegations B.C. prioritized revenue over money laundering”, CBC, April 28, 2021

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