British Columbia will review money laundering report before release, says Eby

The NDP government appointed B.C. Supreme Court Justice Austin Cullen in May 2019 to lead the investigation after multiple official reports concluded that hundreds of millions of dollars linked to organized crime and the trafficking of drugs had affected the province’s real estate, luxury vehicle and gaming sectors.

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VICTORIA — The final report of British Columbia’s public inquiry into money laundering is due in government today.

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The NDP government appointed B.C. Supreme Court Justice Austin Cullen in May 2019 to lead the investigation after multiple official reports concluded that hundreds of millions of dollars linked to organized crime and the trafficking of drugs had affected the province’s real estate, luxury vehicle and gaming sectors.

The Cullen Commission’s website states that its mandate includes making findings of fact about the extent, growth and methods of money laundering in British Columbia and whether the acts or omissions of regulators and individuals “contributed to money laundering in the province or constitute corruption”.

Since the spring of 2020, the commission has heard testimony from approximately 200 witnesses over 130 days, including former BC premier Christy Clark, several former and current cabinet ministers, police officers, gaming officials , financial crime experts and academics.

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Two senior gambling investigators testified that they raised concerns in 2009 with gambling and government officials, including cabinet ministers, about increased cash outflows at Vancouver-area casinos they suspected of being linked to organized crime.

Attorney General David Eby testified that he appointed an independent review panel into money laundering in B.C. casinos after watching videos of gamblers picking up large bags full of $20 bills at the outside casinos and bringing them inside venues.

Eby, who will receive a copy of Cullen’s report with Finance Minister Selina Robinson and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth, said the government plans to release the report, but he did not provide a date.

“I’m looking forward to the report,” says Eby. “Commissioner Cullen and his team worked very hard on this and heard from many witnesses. I think this will be very useful information for British Columbians on how we got into the mess we got into and also how we are turning British Columbia and Vancouver into a role model for wrestling against money laundering instead of a center where it happens.


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