In the latest investigation into the money laundering investigation by the Cullen Commission, Doug Scott was the head of the Gaming Police and Enforcement Branch from 2011 to 2013. Mr. Scott did not believe, according to his statements, that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police did not do enough to avoid money laundering schemes occurring on the premises of the casinos.
The experience of the Branch manager with the police department left him with the idea that the law enforcement did not have the necessary tools or plan to tackle the ongoing money-laundering operations. With bags of bills of CA$20 being used in B.C. Casinos without taking any opposing measures, which resulted in millions of dollars being washed away. His testimony supported other allegations that pointed to the failures of other participants in the investigations.
Doug Scott, the now-current deputy minister of Finance, claimed at the hearing that he had lost hope in the police department because of a lack of financial crime capacity. He also said that he intentionally did not inform the police of the concern raised by casino investigators, because he had doubted that this would attract the attention of the police department.
Mr. Scott expressed his surprise in further statements at how slow the investigation progressed in the two years when he led the GPEB, despite the case being classified by the branch as a top priority. He also claimed that Branch Investigator Larry Vander Graaf informed him upon his assignment that the organization had neither the tools nor the authority to engage in this potentially dangerous investigation. And that the Crown corporation did not approve that high-rolling casino players who used huge amounts of cash.
There was a significant ‘gulf’ of opinions between the two Crown corporations back then, according to the former branch boss, and that the branch was on a whole other wave on how to proceed in the situation. By claiming that the investigators of the branch did not approach a single suspicious gambler about the source of money, BCLC lawyers have accused GPEB of a misunderstanding of authority.
One of the lawyers of the Crown Agency, Bill Smart, asked Mr. Scott if the direction of anti-money laundering was forwarded to his ministry superiors, to which the latter admitted not doing so, but in his words, the ministry was aware of the circumstances and was working on a different approach to the determination of cash amounts. According to the former branch manager, the issue of a policy for interviewing high-rolling players should have been accelerated.
Mr. Scott also acknowledged that he did not accept the opinions of BCLC as valid, as the corporation insisted that cash amounts were only used by high-profile clients for cultural reasons. He also claimed that because it was voluntary, the BCLC’s alternative cash program was not viable. Other proposals for putting a limit on cash buy-ins were also not practical because, according to Mr. Scott, it would affect honest players.
Thanks to the investigation of the Cullen Commission, we heard several versions on the subject of money laundering in British Columbia’s casinos. We learned that the Crown corporation was not in a haste to intervene with the suspected drug money, despite video footage of casinos accepting large cash transactions. With the premise that the client is purely rich or simply famous, it became known that casinos accepted large cash sums.
We were also able to conclude from the investigation that the Crown agency did not consider adopting the anti-money laundering directive as an urgent matter. The former chairman of the company’s board reportedly did not warn the provincial gaming minister of the illegal activities because of concerns that casinos would lose loyal high-rolling clients by scaring them away, resulting in revenue drops.