British Columbia Appoints Investigator to Probe Into Suspicious Transactions at Local Casinos

British Columbia’s new Attorney General David Eby has appointed an independent investigator to conduct a review of the anti-money laundering controls deployed by local casinos and gambling regulators.

The announcement about the upcoming probe comes shortly after Attorney General Eby released a 2016 report that unveiled that suspicious transactions of C$13.5 million in C$20 bills took place at River Rock Casino Resort back in July 2015.

As mentioned above, said report was completed in 2016, but the former British Columbia did not make it public. The 25-page document contained information about the suspicious transactions as well as recommendations of how casinos around the province as well as the responsible gambling regulators should be treating such transactions.

For instance, the report recommended that local casinos move away from cash transactions and implement other money deposit methods that would make it easier to track the source of the money deposited by patrons.

The Purpose of the Independent Investigation

The above-mentioned instance of large volume transactions taking place at a British Columbia casino was just one of many to have gained media attention over the years. In fact, River Rock Casino itself has appeared on the radar screens of media and British Columbia gambling watchdogs on multiple occasions due to suspicious transactions and the apparent lack of information about the sources of the money deposited and withdrawn from the venue.

Generally speaking, the independent investigation will aim to check whether casinos perform the necessary due diligence on their patrons, particularly ones depositing larger amounts of money and whether all the necessary controls for the prevention of money laundering and other illicit activities are deployed.

Lawyer Peter German has been appointed to carry out the probe. Mr. German will have up until the end of the first quarter of 2018 to present his findings. Attorney General Eby has told local media that the independent investigator has been encouraged to alarm about any irregularities found out about at casinos immediately and rather than wait until the end of his investigation. Yet, Mr. German will also be required to present a report with a collective picture of the current state of affairs.

As part of his investigation, the lawyer will meet with representatives from the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, the Joint Illegal Gaming Investigation, and the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch.

Mr. German told local media that any industries involving the movement of large amounts of money are a favorite target to money launderers. However, it is important for such industries, gambling included, to protect their integrity. The lawyer further pointed out that through the upcoming investigation, they want to ensure that adequate controls and policies are in place and that these are followed so that the industry retains its integrity and criminal activities are prevented from being carried out at gambling premises.

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