B.C. government to review money-laundering inquiry report before public release, says Eby
The Attorney General’s Ministry stated on Friday that the 1,804-page report is being examined and will be made public as soon as possible.
After multiple official assessments found that hundreds of millions of dollars tied to organized crime and the drug trade had impacted the province’s real estate, luxury automobile, and gambling industries, the government chose B.C. Supreme Court Justice Austin Cullen to lead the inquiry in May 2019.
According to the Cullen Commission’s website, its mandate includes making factual findings about the scope, growth, and methods of money laundering in British Columbia, as well as whether regulatory agencies’ and individuals’ actions or omissions “contributed to money laundering in the province or amounted to corruption.”
Since the spring of 2020, the commission heard testimony from about 200 witnesses over 130 days, including former B.C. premier Christy Clark, several former and current cabinet ministers, police officers, gaming officials and financial crime experts and academics.
Two senior gaming investigators testified that they raised concerns in 2009 with gaming and government officials, including cabinet ministers, about increasing amounts of cash in Vancouver-area casinos that they suspected was connected to organized crime.
B.C. Attorney General David Eby testified he appointed an independent review of money laundering at B.C. casinos after watching videos of gamblers picking up large bags, packed with $20 bills, outside casinos and bringing them inside the venues.
Eby, who will receive a copy of Cullen’s report along with Finance Minister Selina Robinson and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth, says the government plans to release the report, but he didn’t provide a date.
“I’m looking forward to the report,” says Eby. “Commissioner Cullen and his team worked very hard on it and heard from a lot of witnesses. I think it will be very helpful information for British Columbians about how we got into the mess we got into and also how we turn B.C. and Vancouver into a model for fighting money laundering instead of a centre where it takes place.”