Yes, I know I said I am done blogging and I am…but this one is just for Rich Coleman.
And a few others. 😉
The Peter German report into rampant money laundering is out and it does not fail to elicit reaction. A link to the full report can be found here: https://www.google.ca/amp/s/www.cbc.ca/amp/1.4723958
“The system faltered,” German said at a press conference on Wednesday.
“The problem grew over time until it outdistanced the ability of existing legislation … to manage it.”
As part of the review, German put forward 48 recommendations to fix the problem — which he says was apparent to officials as far back as 2011.
Yes indeed, years of money laundering, a massive system failure indeed…
More like a wilful disregard if you ask me, because while the report states officials knew as far back as 2011, it’s still 2009 that stands out for one big reason: Rich Coleman shut down the IIGET.
I still have a big issue with the many unanswered questions surrounding this-I blogged about it in 2016, linking to the Observer story and tweeted about it last year in discussion with others online.
And it is more relevant than ever right now because Coleman intends to announce a run for mayor of Surrey. Quite frankly Rich Coleman is the last person who should be running Surrey.
From the Observer excerpt in that 2016 blogpost:
Before it was disbanded last year, the RCMP’s Integrated Illegal Gaming Enforcement Team (IIGET) gave a number of warnings about the presence of organized crime at casinos in the Province. Now, as Vancouver prepares for public hearings on the BC Place casino – set to be the province’s largest – the now-defunct unit’s warnings are spurring questions about a potential rise in criminal activity and the ability of police to cope.
In a 2009 report obtained by The Vancouver Sun through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, the IIGET warned of casinos’ “extreme vulnerability” to money laundering. Many investigations across Canada have found that members of organized crime use casinos for criminal purposes, the report states. A separate internal assessment, obtained by the Globe and Mail through a FOI, advised that Hells Angels members had, in some cases, succeeded in infiltrating the province’s “legitimate gaming operations.”
The 12-member IIGET was dissolved on April 1, 2009 by then-Housing Minister Rich Coleman. He said the the team, which cost $1 million a year, was not cost effective. Coleman is now Solicitor General.
Ah yes. Hard to imagine how or why this decision was made, isn’t it? It just doesn’t make a lick of sense and questions remain to this day,as a result of the video filmed by Sean Holman while he ran Public Eye Online.
Grab a stiff drink or popcorn. I’ll point out some observations after.
If one was a keen observer of human behavior…especially in interrogations..(oops I mean interviews)…one might notice a few things.
1) Coleman appears very uncomfortable throughout the interview. He is fidgeting. He is sweating. His face flushes and he swallows excessively. Just saying..
2) at 1:22ish Holman counters Colemans statements with “This is where I have an issue…” And heads into his timeline. Colemans knee is shaking up and down so fast now that his entire body is moving visibly.
3) 2:35. Coleman, faced with contradictory documents,gets frustrated with Holman. He states further on he hasn’t changed his message once and he isn’t going to. Because when you start with the truth it makes your message easy to remember. His eyes are twitching now and he appears agitated despite Holmans calm questioning
4) At 4:01 he states he doesn’t deal in paper which is why there is no documentation supporting his version or perspective of why the decision was made. No business case. Nada. ( way to run a govt eh?)
5) at 4:37, he then tries defers blame and states he made this decision based on the advice of good people and he spoke to senior people in the RCMP and he was comfortable with the decision (!!)
It’s hard to imagine that on one hand, the IIGET was warning organized crime had infiltrated casinos and yet here is good old Rich telling Holman he spoke to senior people in the RCMP who made him feel comfortable that the team should be shut down.
And yet Holman could find no documentation of it because Coleman doesn’t use paper. Which is the only thing I truly believe here.
Huh. Funny thing. So my question is still, who in the RCMP agreed with Coleman, or at least made him feel comfortable to shut it down? If he can remember his messaging because-as he says in the video, he always tells the truth-why didn’t he say who in the Rcmp he spoke with?
And imagine if that team had never been disbanded and continued to work on the intel they already had.
Maybe it would never have gotten this bad.
It wasnt until Sam Cooper wrote this story last year that we saw De Jongs side of it. Yet questions still remain.
Hmm. Funding pressures? But Coleman said he spoke with senior Rcmp in the video.
Someone has some ‘splaining to do Lucy!
Seems to me if you know this illegal activity is going on,if you know that the rcmp need more scope and people not less AND you decide to shut down teams…you are contributing to the proliferation of it. Kinda sorta negligent some might say.
(But that’s not the only oddity when it comes to Rich Coleman and casinos…I’d be hard pressed not to mention this incident, calls to Surrey Councillors warning they won’t get another chance: https://globalnews.ca/news/383680/rich-coleman-issued-warning-to-surrey-councillors-ahead-of-casino-vote/ )
What exactly is the deal with Coleman and casinos anyways? Why does he push them so hard without addrressing the issues that come with them? It’s no wonder the BC Liberals suppressed a 2016 report on money laundering in BC casinos-Coleman, DeJong and Anton would have had some very uncomfortable questions to answer before the election. And they still need to answer for all this.
I’ve been calling for a corruption inquiry in BC for many years, although in relation to activities in the Ministry of transportation and public projects handled by that ministry in years past. Bidding ‘irregularities’. Indications cartels exist to divide up regions and jobs. Many said that was crazy. The feds found it odd no one wanted to talk about corruption in construction out here-report in the linked bit just above- and said conditions existed for corruption to occur. And like how the money laundering flew under the radar, so did that.
But something has been going on,and continues to go on in BC. And it isn’t good. And its hurting all of us in many ways.
It’s clear now that dirty money has infiltrated many sectors in BC, and a full, sweeping, Charbonneau style commission is needed, not piece meal investigations here and there. Leave no stone unturned. Proceeds from gaming provide community grants among other things-the people deserve a full inquiry into how this flourished,who is responsible and how far it goes.
Because all this money laundering didn’t happen without a helluva lot of help.And its not acceptable to just ‘look forward’ and let everyone who facilitated this go unaccountable.
Anything less is to condone corruption within government and within government agencies or corporations.
And that is quite unthinkable.
Thanks to readers for keeping me updated with links or pertinent info- I will add them below for readers to see collectively. 😏
*Rich Coleman attacks rcmp investigator & is proven wrong by media. http://www.cbc.ca/i/caffeine/syndicate/?mediaId=1832804158
*Now you see it, now you don’t: Rich Coleman removes former RCMP history from mla bio.
* charities fighting Vancouver Casino expansion lose funding after threat
* I would ask readers urge Eby to go rogue here and call an inquiry. Allowing this to go unchecked by focusing on legislation and regulation moving forward, while a good move, will do nothing if those involved in either turning a blind eye, obstructing or enabling criminal activity to flourish go unaccountable. Flush the dirt from the system Eby.
* From Q&A with Peter German:
“…There is no question that there is a connection between casinos and the real estate market in that some of the same players were buying real estate.
But it also touches potentially any sector of the economy where cash can be accepted and there isn’t regulation of the cash that comes in.”
* from an older Public Eye Online piece by Sean Holman:
“But gaming minister Rich Colemanearlier dismissed Mr. Pinnock’s concerns, telling reporters, “In every casino in B.C. we have the highest security – both visual and people on site. If you ever go into a casino, you’ll find that we spend millions of dollars on all kinds of cameras and monitoring and stuff like that. We have people on site working 24/7. We also a very, very sophisticated team of people that do the investigations on gaming in B.C. that actually integrate with police. So I just disagree with what his assessment was.”
As for the fines issued by the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, lottery corporation president and chief executive officer Michael Graydon has said they related to “administrative” breaches and had “nothing at all” to do with money laundering or terrorism
** Sandy Garossino has strong words for Eby, the NDP and Coleman in her new column: https://www.nationalobserver.com/2018/06/30/opinion/stop-whitewashing-bloodstains-bcs-dirty-money-laundromat