For the past several years, certain lawmakers in Canada have been trying to wrap their heads around a problem that still eludes them. A handful of casinos in the country seem to have had no problem laundering massive amounts of money through their doors. Despite the issue having been made public in 2018, there are still many unanswered questions. However, one of those – who brought the entire debacle to light – has now reportedly been settled. A former director at the British Columbia Lottery Corp. (BCLC) says he’s the reason casinos were put on the defensive.
The Canadian Casino Cash Conundrum
Using certain casinos in Canada to process hundreds of millions of dollars, possibly billions, was common practice since at least 2009, if not earlier. However, repeatedly, the issue was swept under the rug. It wasn’t until sensitive information began appearing in the news that a public response was demanded. Last year, the Cullen Commission, led by Supreme Court Justice Austin Cullen, was established to determine how widespread the problem is and is still continuing today. According to Ross Alderson, a former director of the BCLC’s anti-money laundering (AML) office, has now admitted to being the reason why the investigation was begun. If it weren’t for him, the world may have never known that duffel bags filled with $200 million in $20 bills were sometimes being handed over to casino cashiers.
During testimony late last week, during which he was grilled for more than four hours, Alderson stated, “Did I leak information to the media? Yes, I did. We wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t.” Apparently, his public revelations were due to frustration at not being able to perform his job as he had expected. He asserted that his efforts were thwarted by “indifference,” which can only be interpreted as a lack of response by executives above him, and he added, “I felt this needed to be out in the public forum. I saw nothing being done. Nothing being done.”
Widespread Fallout to Ensue
After the news first broke, several specific casinos were put in the spotlight and were later accused of trying to hide their tracks by destroying evidence. Money laundering by the properties seemed to have hit all levels of the public and private sectors, with political figures, casino executives and others being called out for their explicit or implicit involvement. Over 200 people, from cabinet members to academics, are testifying as part of the Cullen Commission and more revelations are expected over the next couple of months.
Alderson, after leaving the BCLC, relocated to Australia, halfway around the world. He had been summoned to testify in March of last year; however, he never responded to the summons. When asked why, he explained that it wasn’t a priority, asserting, “There has been a global pandemic over the last year. “My priority has been the safety of my family. I’m living on the other side of the world.”
The results of the Cullen Commission and a final report are expected to be released sometime before the middle of December.