Authorities called it the flow of dirty money into B.C. casinos captured on undated surveillance footage.
But what happened outside the view of cameras?
It’s a burning question for the former commander of B.C.’s Integrated Illegal Gaming Enforcement Team (IIGET).
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“A young security worker came to me while I was the unit commander of IIGET and said he was monitoring the criminal activity of a loan shark, a known loan shark in the casino which employed him,” Fred Pinnock, former BC IIGET commander, said.
The shocking allegation tied to loan-sharking came in 2006 and involved Richmond’s River Rock Casino.
“His security manager came to him and said, ‘What are you doing? It’s bad for business,'” Pinnock said. “That security manager then escorted the loan shark to an area within that casino that everyone knew was not covered by cameras.”
Pinnock says he wanted his unit IIGET to investigate criminal activity of this nature but setting up a covert operation inside legal casinos was outside their mandate.
“I communicated that to the people to whom I reported, as well as my partner agency GPEB (Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch) and I was advised that it had been investigated. Nothing more was said.”
Pinnock believes a lack of action on serious allegations is a major concern to the minister now responsible for GPEB.
“That allegation is really serious,” Attorney General David Eby said. “I can think of a number of violations of provincial law and policy and potentially criminality.”
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In his report on money laundering, Peter German wrote:
“Loan sharks may be financed and supported by organized crime networks… who are also involved in money laundering activities.”
“For many years Lower Mainland casinos unwittingly served as laundromats for the proceeds of organized crime,” German said.
The owner of the River Rock — Great Canadian Gaming Corp. — wouldn’t put anyone on camera, but insists staff don’t have the discretion to deviate from compliance policies and the casino will always cooperate with police.
“The RCMP has never expressed any concerns to us about our company’s compliance with the laws and regulations that govern our industry, and Great Canadian is unaware of any allegations which may have been made to the RCMP,” Great Canadian Gaming COO Terrance Doyle said.
When asked directly if Great Canadian Gaming had any knowledge of its staff making the allegation to the GPEB, Global News was told there was “no further comment.”
“Mr. Pinnock is a credible person and he was in charge of an important area of law and policy,” Eby said. “If he believes that this kind of issue wasn’t dealt with, then it should be.”