23 September 2017 0 Comments Posted By : SAM COOPER

Big cash flowing into River Rock Casino sparks money-laundering probe

B.C.’s attorney general has ordered an independent review of money-laundering controls in B.C. casinos after Chinese high-roller VIPs used gambling chips bought with massive wads of cash that could be “proceeds of crime,” Postmedia has learned.

These concerns that threaten the “integrity” of gambling in B.C. are revealed in a damaging confidential report about casinos overseen by B.C. Lottery Corporation. The report was released Friday by the province after freedom of information requests by Postmedia.

“We are serious about doing everything we can to identify money laundering activities, and ensure policies are in place to prevent it from occurring in B.C. casinos,” Attorney General David Eby said in a statement Friday morning. “We will bring in the best experts available to assist us, and I am confident we will succeed.”

The report released Friday was commissioned in 2015 by B.C.’s gaming policy enforcement branch and focuses mostly on allegations of “unsourced cash” flowing into Richmond’s River Rock Casino.

Auditor MNP LLP explains the reasons for its report, noting that the enforcement branch “compiled a document which identified approximately $13.5 million in $20 bills being accepted in River Rock in July 2015.” That’s equivalent to a 20-storey-high stack of $20 bills, taller than the 12-storey height of the casino’s hotel building.

“Law enforcement intelligence has indicated this currency may be the direct proceeds of crime,” the MNP report states.

The majority of cash is presented to casino staff by “high-roller Asian VIP clients” who have travelled from China or recently immigrated from China, the report says.

Investigations and interviews showed that some VIPs have been allowed to purchase gambling chips at River Rock with more than $500,000 in small bills at a single time. And casino staff are accepting these wads of cash even though there is “no known source of funds.”

In its report, MNP says it looked at the actions of B.C.’s gambling enforcement branch,  casino overseer B.C. Lottery Corporation and B.C. casino operators.

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