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Former BC Liberal Minister May Have Overlooked Money Laundering

The money laundering accusations in British Columbia are growing. Now, a former British Columbia RCMP officer has testified that in 2009, he learned that Rich Coleman, the then-minister responsible for gaming, was ā€œlargely responsibleā€ for rampantĀ money laundering.

This illegal activity is apparentlyĀ related to organized crime in the provinceā€™s casinos. Were senior B.C. Mounties were complicit?

According to Fred Pinnock, former commander of B.C.ā€™s anti-illegal gaming unit, speaking before theĀ Cullen Commission, then-solicitor general, Kash Heed made allegations against Coleman during a private meeting back in 2009.

Pinnock thought that the situations was ā€œout of controlā€ and tried to expand his unitā€™s mandate and resources to attack the ā€œgangsā€ in BC Lottery Corporation casinos. It was so bad that he took a medical leave late in 2007.

ā€œI felt it was a charade and I donā€™t feel my superiors cared. Public
safety was not a priority of my superiors with respect to gaming.ā€

His former unit was disbanded by the B.C. Liberal government in 2008. His protests fell on deaf ears.

Pinnock followed up by providing an interview to a B.C. media outlet in 2009. He accused the RCMP and B.C.ā€™s government of ā€œwillful blindnessā€ to increasing gang activity in Lottery Corp. casinos.

He subsequently met with Heed in Victoria.

ā€œI told himĀ that Rich Coleman knows whatā€™s going on inside those casinos. Kash
Heed confirmed my perceptionā€¦he did feel that Rich Coleman had created this.

Furthermore, according to Pinnock, Heed claimed that Coleman had ā€œreceived the tacit supportā€Ā of senior B.C.

Mounties.Ā Pinnock said that this was a game being played by senior police officers. The term used was by Heed was that RCMP leaders are ā€œpuppetsā€ for Coleman.

Heed said the RCMP leaders included Gary Bass, then-deputy commissioner for western Canada, and Dick Bent, Pinnockā€™s direct supervisor.Ā Pinnock acknowledged that he did not seek to question the RCMP officers named. Pinnock also said that he has not questioned Coleman about the allegations and had only met with him once since in 2010 at a B.C. Liberal fundraiser.

Coleman had previously denied allegations that he turned a blind eye to crime in B.C. casinos.

Allegedly, a number of ā€œfoundationalā€ RCMP memos claim that Pinnockā€™s former anti-illegal gaming unit had a mandate to tackle organized crime and money laundering in Lottery Corp. casinos.

Pinnock apparently only received notice to only focus on illegal casinos in general and not on gangs.

ā€œWe were not welcome in those environments. In practice, we were
not expected to have any presence in those locations.ā€

A gap in the enforcement of money laundering was widened when in 2009 when the anti-illegal gaming unit was disbanded.

Nonetheless, Pinnock said that massive cash transactions were already well known in Vancouver casinos. An inquiry started in 2012 to pursue the matter.

Why then did Lottery Corp. staff allow ā€œVIPā€ gamblers, allowed to bend the rules. They were getting a cash infusion from a large network of loan sharks. Oversight over the years was caused by the need to protect the significant casino revenue brought in.

Several front-line Lottery Corp. investigators revealed that they were ordered not to question the VIPs because one casino complained they were intervening.

Source: https://globalnews.ca/news/7444953/rich-coleman-fred-pinnock-cullen-commission/

About the author

Melissa Critch

Melissa Critch

Melissa Critch is a lawyer by day and journalist in the free time. She likes to fact check and report latest Canadian news.

Melissa's hobby is to surfboard on the biggest sea waves possible.

She can be reached out at: melissa.critch@blog.ca

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