In British Columbia and an official inquiry has reportedly been told how a former local government minister was ‘largely responsible’ for money laundering by organized crime groups being rampant throughout casinos in the western Canadian province.
According to a Thursday report from the Canadian Global Television Network, Fred Pinnock previously commanded an anti-illegal gambling unit within the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and testified that he had attempted to expand the detachment’s mandate and resources in 2007 so as to counter money laundering that he believed to be ‘out of control’ within British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) casinos.
However, the former policeman reportedly told the Cullen Commission inquiry that his superiors as well as their partners in the government’s Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch didn’t support his objectives and had later disbanded his unit altogether. Pinnock purportedly moreover testified that ‘public safety was not a priority of my superiors with respect to gaming’ and that efforts to stamp out money laundering within British Columbia casinos had largely been ‘a charade’.
The Canadian Global Television Network reported that Pinnock furthermore testified that he was later repeatedly rebuffed when attempting to express his concerns to the provincial minister who at that time was responsible for gaming policy, Rich Coleman (pictured). He purportedly declared that the then-Solicitor General had even admonished a former girlfriend, past Liberal Party legislator Naomi Yamamoto, in front of a party gathering after she had passed on a message concerning the situation.
Pinnock reportedly told the inquiry…
“It was in a group setting and she described his reaction as brutal and dismissive and embarrassing. And my conclusion is he did not want to be told about casino concerns.”
Pinnock reportedly moreover told the examination that he had been growing increasingly frustrated about the lack of a crack-down on money laundering and decided to set up a private meeting with Coleman’s successor, former Solicitor General Kash Heed. He purportedly declared that this 2009 get-together had resulted in him being told that the whole matter ‘was a game being played by senior police officers’ and that Coleman ‘received the tacit support’ of senior figures within the RCMP and were being utilized by the Liberal Party stalwart as ‘puppets.’
Pinnock reportedly told the Cullen Commission…
“I told him I am convinced that Rich Coleman knows what’s going on inside those casinos and Kash Heed confirmed my perception that I was accurate in my belief and he did feel that Rich Coleman had created this. He said to me, in effect, ‘that is what is going on, Fred, but I can’t say that publicly. You know, it’s all about the money’.”
The Canadian Global Television Network reported that Coleman has yet to testify before the ongoing inquiry but previously denied allegations that he had turned a blind eye to money laundering in British Columbia casinos. Nevertheless, Pinnock purportedly told the examination that the collusion stretched to Gary Bass, the former Deputy Commissioner for the RCMP’s Pacific Region, as well as to his own direct supervisor, Chief Superintendent Dick Bent.