Trail of Dirty Money Linking Housing Prices, Drugs and Gambling in Vancouver

Written by:
Guest
Published on:
Oct/04/2017

Last week’s revelations that wealthy gambling VIPs were permitted to launder dirty money through a Vancouver casino have resulted in a more extensive investigation to be conducted by the NDP government. 

A previously suppressed report on money laundering at a popular casino by accounting firm MNP suggests that Chinese VIP gamblers laid down buy-ins sometimes in excess of $500,000 to wash their proceeds of crime.

Much of the transactions took place at the popular River Rock Casino.

From the National Observer:

The Vancouver Sun’s Sam Cooper wrote two stories, showing how big bucks is laundered in B.C. and tracking the massive real estate holdings owned by some of the characters involved. Among other examples, Cooper found that one of the gamblers had sold at least five properties in Metro Vancouver for total proceeds of $48.4 million.

As these two events unfolded, the new Parq Casino opened, a massive complex next to B.C. Place Stadium complete with two hotels, eight restaurants and lounges and a 72,000-square-foot casino. The development was planned as a way to cover the $514-million new retractable roof on BC Place.

A group of retired police officers wrote a letter to Vancouver City Council asking them not to approve the BC Place casino development.

That letter went on to explain: “Casinos and racetracks are well known for their vulnerability to the activities of gangs and organized crime — money laundering, loan sharking, extortion and prostitution, as well as for the vulnerability to public corruption which they engender,” the letter states.”

Attorney General David Eby has now asked for a review of British Columbia’s anti-money-laundering laws.

“I received a series of briefings that caused me to believe that our province could do more to combat money laundering at B.C. casinos,” said Attorney General David Eby, who will now hire an independent review of anti-money laundering practices after MNP cited concerns as to how B.C. Lottery Corporation has been tackling the matter.

In one month (July 2015), the casino accepted $13.5 million in $20 bills alone.

“River Rock staff [members] have fostered a culture accepting of large bulk cash transactions.

“The issue of casinos, [River Rock] in particular, accepting large volumes of cash has now been a growing issue in the province for a number of years,” noted the report.

MNP’s extensive interviews with casino and BCLC staff concluded there are “reasonable grounds to suspect money laundering” via unsourced funds derived mostly from wealthy Chinese gamblers.

“While the patron may be bona fide, the unsourced cash being accepted by the casino may be associated with criminal activity and poses significant regulatory, business and reputational risk,” noted MNP.

- Gilbert Horowtitz, Gambling911.com

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