BCLC Vice President Sought Gaps in Canadian Anti-Money Laundering Laws

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In the latest testimony, the Cullen Commission heard from the executive director of investigations at the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC), Cary Skrine, that the former Crown Corporation vice president sought “looser rules” regarding the interpretation of Canadian anti-money laundering laws.

The latest testimony at the Cullen Commission saw the former British Columbia Lottery Corporation vice president, Robert Kroeker, being accused of seeking the loosen the rules in the anti-money-laundering team.  The allegations were levelled against Kroaker by Cary Skrine, the current executive director of investigations at the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC).

However, the commission found that such allegations were not sufficiently substantiated due to lack of evidence.  According to Skrine, Kroeker asked the anti-money laundering team to relax the way Canadian anti-money laundering laws get applied when investigating casino cash transactions.  However, these allegations remain unsubstantiated.

Skrine’s Testimony

In his testimony, Skrine noted that Kroeker instructed three anti-money-laundering reporting entities to relax their rules when performing investigations.  However, no record keeping of such meeting were ever recorded, and mentioned individuals denied their presence during that meeting.

Skrine also mentioned that he notified Kroeker of evidence that bank drafts were used to launder money in British Columbia casinos.  However, according to Skrine, Kroeker didn’t consider such drafts a vulnerability to casinos in the province.

Counter Accusations

In earlier testimony, Robert Kroeker accused the British Columbia attorney-general, David Eby, of becoming disinterested with complying with Canadian Anti-Money Laundering Laws from 2017 onwards.  In his words, Eby became decreasingly concerned with dealing with the problem ever since the NDP came to power in 2017.

A Brief Overview of Canadian Anti-Money Laundering Laws

In Canada, gambling is a heavily regulated industry, and the government has enacted various laws in its fight against money laundering to prevent criminals from using casinos to launder their proceeds of crime. The primary legislation governing AML in the country is the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA).

Under the PCMLTFA, all Canadian casinos, both land-based and online, are required to establish and maintain a comprehensive AML program that includes risk assessments, customer due diligence measures, record-keeping requirements, and reporting obligations to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC).

The AML programme must identify and verify the identity of all customers who conduct transactions above a certain threshold, which varies depending on the type of transaction and the type of customer. For example, casinos must perform client identification on any customer who buys or redeems chips worth C$10,000 or more in a single funds transfer transaction. They must also report any suspicious transactions to FINTRAC.

In addition, the Canadian federal government has established regulatory bodies to oversee the gambling industry and ensure compliance with AML laws. For example, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is responsible for regulating casinos and other gambling operations in Ontario, while the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch (GPEB) oversees casinos and other gaming establishments in British Columbia.

Overall, Canadian anti-money laundering laws relating to gambling are designed to protect the integrity of the gambling industry and prevent criminals from using it to launder their ill-gotten gains. By requiring casinos to establish and maintain robust AML programs and report suspicious transactions to FINTRAC, the government can monitor the industry and take action against any criminal activity that may occur.