RCMP lacked devoted crew to analyze unlawful actions at B.C. on line casino, inquiry hears

The inquiry into cash laundering in B.C. has heard the RCMP did not have the assets to analyze unlawful actions on the province’s largest on line casino, whereas the B.C. Lottery Corp. did not have the authority to crack down on suspicious transactions.

Ward Clapham, the previous officer-in-charge of the Richmond RCMP detachment, says he tried twice to ascertain a brand new unit immediately assigned to the River Rock On line casino however his requests have been denied by town.

He advised the inquiry on Wednesday he wanted town’s approval to create the “on line casino crime crew,” however basic responsibility front-line officers have been a better precedence for Richmond than gaming.

Clapham says he pushed for a specialised crew till he left the RCMP in 2008, however the assist by no means materialized regardless of the enlargement of unlawful gaming actions in B.C. all through the early 2000s.

The provincial authorities launched the inquiry after commissioning stories that outlined how cash laundering was affecting actual property and housing affordability, luxurious automobile gross sales and playing in B.C.

The inquiry additionally heard from Gord Friesen, a former Mountie and former supervisor of investigations for the B.C. Lottery Corp., who says he did not have the authority to cease a transaction with out proof the cash was the proceeds of crime.

“If $200,000 in $20 payments wrapped in elastic bands was dropped off to anyone in a car parking zone outdoors the on line casino and tendered on the money cage, would that be a sufficiently suspicious transaction to warrant intervention?” requested Patrick McGowan, senior counsel for the inquiry fee.

It will be suspicious and reportable, replied Friesen, however such a transaction wouldn’t have been stopped with out proof {that a} crime was being dedicated.

Stories of suspicious transactions

Friesen estimated that when he first began at River Rock, investigators with the lottery company made round 5 to 10 stories of suspicious transactions and enormous money buy-ins every week.

He mentioned the stories have been made to Fintrac, Canada’s monetary transactions reporting centre, in addition to B.C.’s gaming coverage and enforcement department and varied departments throughout the RCMP.

Suspicious transactions elevated over time, mentioned Friesen, and the stories grew to round 25 each week.

Requested what number of instances somebody was arrested for cash laundering or mortgage sharking within the on line casino, he mentioned, “it wasn’t rather a lot.”

The inquiry heard earlier this week that transactions involving as a lot as $800,000 weren’t unusual at River Rock beginning round 2010 as gamers hauled in baggage and suitcases full of money, usually in $20 payments.

Steven Beeksma, who labored as a surveillance supervisor on the on line casino, mentioned gamers would then money out giant sums in $100 payments, which might be scrutinized much less at a financial institution.

Hearings for the inquiry are set to proceed into subsequent week and the inquiry is anticipated to wrap up subsequent yr.

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