BC Liberals knew about money laundering but refused to act, say three former top investigators

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Three former senior RCMP officers have told the Cullen Commission that BC Liberal cabinet ministers knew about rampant money laundering in casinos and refused to stop it.

Wayne Holland, Former RCMP and Officer-in-Charge, Integrated Illegal Gaming Enforcement Team (IIGET):

In 2008, Holland provided a money laundering threat assessment to government that “was more substantial than we ever anticipated.” Holland requested that his unit be doubled to deal with the growing threat.

The BC Liberals dissolved it instead. Holland believes Coleman personally made the decision and that the RCMP disagreed with it. (Global, Dec. 2, 2020)

Fred Pinnock, Former RCMP and Officer-in-Charge, IIGET:

In 2009, Pinnock attempted to set up a meeting to warn Coleman directly. Pinnock said Coleman refused to meet and that his reaction was “brutal and dismissive… my conclusion from that is that he did not want to be seen to be told.” (Cullen Commission transcript, p. 117)

Pinnock testified that former BC Liberal minister Kash Heed said senior BC Liberals knew what was happening in casinos, but refused to act because “it’s all about the money.” (Transcript, p. 118)

In a recorded conversation between Pinnock and Heed, Heed pinned the blame directly on senior BC Liberals: “Coleman was all part of it. It’s their network that caused this tsunami to take place in the casinos.” (Transcript, p. 8)

Larry Vander Graaf, Former RCMP, Former Executive Director of Investigations for Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch (GPEB):

Vaander Graaf met in person with Rich Coleman in 2010 and warned him directly that players were bringing $10,000 bundles of cash in $20 bills into the casino.

Vaander Graaf testified that “nobody wanted to say, ‘Don’t take the money.’ It looked like, walked like, and talked like, drug proceeds.” (Global News, Nov. 12)

Vander Graaf believes he was fired because he refused to remain silent about money laundering.

Nine current BC Liberal MLAs sat in cabinets that refused to take real action on money laundering:

  • Shirley Bond (Prince George-Valemount)
  • Andrew Wilkinson (Vancouver-Quilchena)
  • Todd Stone (Kamloops-South Thompson)
  • Mike de Jong (Abbotsford West)
  • Coralee Oakes (Cariboo North)
  • John Rustad (Nechako Lakes)
  • Mike Bernier (Peace River South)
  • Mike Morris (Prince George-MacKenzie)
  • Teresa Wat (Richmond North Centre)