The former head of B.C.’s Integrated Illegal Gambling Enforcement Team (IIGET), Fred Pinnock, has spoken publicly for the first time in almost a decade, after reading the Peter German report last week that detailed the mass amounts of money laundering in casinos by stating that “They [the government] all knew what was going on in those casinos and racetracks. Primarily casinos, in particular, the big ones. It was wild west in those large casinos where organized criminal activity was running amok.”
Former solicitor general and current Liberal MLA Rich Coleman, replied to Pinnock’s statement by saying “The reality is what he is saying is inflammatory and it isn’t correct.” Coleman also rejected the idea that his government was “addicted” to the casino profits, which was also stated by Pinnock in regards to why there was so much illegal money laundering in the gambling industry.
While Coleman was serving as solicitor general, the government had decided to get rid of Pinnock’s IIGET, even though they had received reports of substantial money laundering in B.C. casinos. stating that the team just didn’t work. In fact, when German was compiling his information for his Report he had interviewed Coleman and had concluded that getting rid of IIGET in 2009 had a significant impact in the decrease in the number of suspicious transactions reported at casinos.
The German report states that “The loss of IIGET meant that the future rise of loan sharking, money laundering and organized crime in casinos, let alone illegal gaming outside of casinos, remained primarily with (BC Lottery Corp. and Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch) to sort out.”
After the release of this report, Attorney General David Eby, stated that the former government had “turned a blind eye to the issue” and that Pinnock’s accusations were “concerning” but not surprising because the issue at hand was not impossible to address nor was it difficult to figure out.
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