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B.C. casino didn't always fulfil reporting rules for cash buy-ins, inquiry hears

Last Updated Oct 30, 2020 at 7:08 pm EST

VANCOUVER — The inquiry into money laundering has heard British Columbia’s largest casino didn’t always comply with reporting requirements on large cash buy-ins as suspicious transactions became increasingly common a decade ago. 

John Karlovcec, the former director of anti-money laundering and investigations for the B.C. Lottery Corp., agreed under questioning the River Rock Casino hadn’t reported two cash buy-ins of $450,000, one of which was made in $20 bills that would have triggered bank scrutiny. 

The former Mountie also agreed that River Rock and other gaming service providers may have resisted anti-money laundering measures in case they offend high-rolling patrons.

He says the lottery corporation’s primary focus was to make sure casinos reported suspicious cash transactions to Fintrac, Canada’s financial transactions reporting centre.

Karlovcec testified the corporation didn’t have the authority to demand a casino refuse cash or to investigate whether cash was the proceeds of a crime.

The B.C. government launched the inquiry after reports linked laundered money with gaming, luxury car sales and soaring real estate prices in the province.

Karlovcec said the lottery corporation has taken “huge steps” to combat money laundering and greater collaboration with police and B.C.’s gaming and enforcement policy branch would also help combat the problem. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 30, 2020.

The Canadian Press