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Former B.C. cabinet minister denies saying government knew about casino crime

Click to play video: 'Former B.C. solicitor general testifies at money laundering inquiry' Former B.C. solicitor general testifies at money laundering inquiry
Former B.C. Solicitor General and Public Safety minister Kash Heed testifies at the Cullen Commission into money laundering. John Hua reports – Apr 30, 2021

A former cabinet minister denies telling a gaming investigator that members of the BC Liberal government knew about illegal activities at casinos and were doing little to prevent the crimes.

Kash Heed told a public inquiry into money laundering that he recalls a lunch in Victoria in 2009 with former gaming investigator Fred Pinnock, but his recollection of the meeting differs from Pinnock’s.

Read more: David Eby tells inquiry about money laundering information gaps between B.C. organizations

Pinnock testified last fall that he met with Heed in November 2009 shortly after he was appointed solicitor general to raise concerns about large amounts of suspicious cash that were likely linked to organized crime at B.C. casinos.

Click to play video: 'Whistleblower defends testimony at gambling inquiry' Whistleblower defends testimony at gambling inquiry
Whistleblower defends testimony at gambling inquiry – Nov 18, 2020

Pinnock, a former RCMP officer who once led its now-disbanded integrated illegal gaming enforcement team, said he was shocked when Heed told him the gaming minister at the time, Rich Coleman, was more concerned about making money for the government than fighting casino crime.

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Heed, who is also a former chief of the West Vancouver Police Department, said today he didn’t make such a comment.

Read more: Ex-B.C. premier Christy Clark says she wasn’t warned of ‘spike’ in money laundering until 2015

Coleman testified earlier this week that he never put gaming profits ahead of fighting crime at casinos.

The NDP government called the inquiry in 2019 after three reports outlined how B.C.’s real estate, luxury vehicle and gaming sectors were being used to launder illegal cash.

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