B.C. RCMP Unit Disbanded After Crime Figure Bought Stake in Casino

Thursday, January 23, 2020

A businessman in British Columbia who is alleged to be connected to Asian organized crime was allowed to buy a piece of a casino by a government employee. Shortly after, that same government employee was hired by the casino. 

B.C. RCMP Unit Disbanded After Crime Figure Bought Stake in Casino

The accusation, which came to light as a result of a whistleblower, is only one example of organized crime’s infiltration and corruption of British Columbia government casinos according to an RCMP anti-illegal gaming report. 

The RCMP report also contained allegations of human trafficking to pay off gambling debts and children being kidnapped and held at gun-point for overdue debts. 

The anti-illegal gaming report argued that the RCMP gaming unit should target the drug cartels use BC casinos in combination with illegal, underground casinos, to launder money.  

Rather than tasking the RCMP with the report’s recommendations, the BC government instead defunded and disbanded the unit. 

Critics of the corrupt casino industry question the decision to disband the RCMP Unit

In an interview, a former Crown Prosecutor said the RCMP report that only became public through freedom of investigation requests, “is shocking to the conscience” and points to “the appearance of corruption in the regulatory system.”

I can’t imagine why there should not be an investigation into what were the circumstances of disbanding the IIGET unit.

The RCMP report found that the money laundering between legal and illegal casinos was an integrity concern for the government of BC. The report went on to conclude that if organized crime was able to infiltrate legal casinos, they could easily launder money and transfer the illegal proceeds.  

Illegal and legal gaming share the same issues, such as loan-sharking, extortions, assaults, kidnappings and murders,” the report says. “And illegal and legal gaming have been interlinked when, in some cases, casino staff have directed patrons to loan sharks or to common gaming houses.

Links between the government-controlled and underground casinos corrupts the integrity of gaming in BC. In order to be properly licenced, casinos must conduct due diligence on owners, employees and any knowns associates in order to ensure criminals and their associates are kept away. 

The governmental minister who authorized the disbanding of the RCMP unit defended the decision by claiming the unit was ineffective. It is truly bizarre that in the face of a damning report on the infiltration of organized crime into the government, the government would dismantle the unit in charge of investigating such claims. Evidence of human trafficking, young women being forced into prostitution, children being held at gun-point and the governments response is to disband. Not more oversight, but less. 

Murder. Extortion. Loan Sharking.

The report concluded that Asian organized crime figures infiltrated the gaming industry and are believed to be involved in controlling common gaming houses, bookmaking, loan-sharking, extorsion and money laundering. 

At least seven major loan sharking operations were discovered operating around Metro-Vancouver. In one strip on a major Vancouver road, there were upwards of ten underground casinos. 

RCMP Unit Disbanded

Between 2007 and 2009, several high-profile loan-sharks were murdered either in robbery attempts or in order to avoid paying debts. Children of those who owed sizeable debts were kidnaped and threatened with death if their debt-ridden parents didn’t immediately pay their debts. 

One man was identified as making 285 large cash transactions for a total of $8.7 million dollars, without any government intervention. Despite this, and many other large cash transactions, police have consistently turned a blind eye because money laundering is considered a low priority.

Cory Wilson is a Calgary criminal lawyer serving clients in all of Alberta. If you have been charged with a criminal offence or are a suspect in a criminal investigation, call today for a free, no obligation consultation.