British Columbia launches review to address money laundering concerns

The Attorney General of British Columbia has appointed an independent expert to review the anti-money laundering controls of the gambling industry in response to recent concerns.

Attorney General David Eby has given lawyer Peter German the task of assessing the effectiveness of current controls and making recommendations for improvements, with a focus on gambling in the Lower Mainland region.

German is a former deputy commissioner of Correctional Service Canada and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He also authored Proceeds of Crime and Money Laundering, described as Canada's leading textbook on money laundering laws.

"We're going to make sure the gaming policies and procedures that protect the interests of British Columbians are in place and are being followed," Eby said. "There are concerns about money laundering that have been growing for years – our government is taking action to deal with them quickly and thoroughly."

The concerns are centred around suspicious cash transactions at a single British Columbia casino.

A report compiled in 2016, but only publicly released last week, showed a number of transactions were made at the River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond, a Vancouver suburb. These included a CAD$13.5m transaction in $20 bills.

Eby has asked German to determine whether there is an unaddressed issue of money laundering in Lower Mainland casinos in particular.

In the course of his review German will meet with the British Columbia government's Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch, as well as the British Columbia Lottery Corporation. He will also liaise with the Joint Illegal Gaming Investigation Team within British Columbia's Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, casino service providers, and employee organizations, and any other parties willing to contribute.

"I believe that if we have the right policies and procedures in place, we can address any concerns the public may have about gambling in British Columbia," Eby said. "We have the full support of operators in the sector, as well as [the British Columbia Lottery Corporation] and the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch for this review."

The review is to be completed by the end of March 2018, although recommendations will be made as and when they are identified.

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