The River Rock Casino in Richmond, British Columbia continues to suffer from money laundering accusations as the Cullen Commission inquiry proceeds. Extensive hearings are taking place to shed insight into the situation over time.
The impact of this practice has no doubt affected the local gambling scene. It is somewhat scandalous that a blind eye had been turned on reports of illegal casino operations.
Ross Alderson, one investigator, had probed the problem as far back as 2011 and even sent warnings to River Rock management in emails. He said the staff were enabling money laundering, or washing cash by high rollers. No response was given by the casino at the time.
Gord Friesen, British Columbia Lottery Corporation former Manager of Investigations at the time did not see fit to probe the problem as the River Rock was reporting transactions over CA$50,000.
According to Alderson before the Cullen Commission, some casino patrons often made transactions of CA$49,960 or CA$49,980 – all in CA$20 bills. High rollers, many Chinese, used the help of loan sharks to bring cash into casinos in duffel bags!
Mr. Friesen was advised that this a violation of the rules set by the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada. Friesen, however, disagreed that casinos are used as laundromats. He said that at the time, the British Columbia Lottery Corporation had no information on suspicious cash transactions.