Commissioner Austin Cullen, back centre, listens to introductions before opening statements at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, in Vancouver, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020. A former British Columbia gaming policy official says the concerns about increasing amounts of suspicious cash and its possible links to money laundering at casinos started rising as the province was preparing to host the 2010 Winter Olympics. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Commissioner Austin Cullen, back centre, listens to introductions before opening statements at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, in Vancouver, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020. A former British Columbia gaming policy official says the concerns about increasing amounts of suspicious cash and its possible links to money laundering at casinos started rising as the province was preparing to host the 2010 Winter Olympics. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Inquiry hears money laundering concerns at B.C. casinos rose as 2010 Olympics neared

Larry Vander Graaf told the public inquiry into money laundering there was an increase in suspected illegal money

A former British Columbia gaming official says concerns were raised as larger amounts of suspicious cash with possible links to money laundering began showing up at casinos while the province prepared to host the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Larry Vander Graaf told the public inquiry into money laundering there was an increase in suspected illegal money at casinos at the same time the RCMP was preparing to mount Canada’s largest-ever security effort to police the Olympics.

The former executive director of the B.C. Gaming Policy Enforcement Branch says staffing issues on the policing side were evident as the RCMP prepared for the Games, but serious concerns were also appearing at casinos.

Vander Graaf says investigators started noticing more suspicious cash at casinos beyond lone-sharking activities in 2007, and by 2010 the casinos were “like a drive-in” where bags of $20 bills were being delivered to parking lots.

He says he started raising concerns that B.C. casinos were being used as vehicles for money laundering because people were buying $10,000 worth of gaming chips with bundles of $20 bills wrapped in elastic bands.

The B.C. government launched a public inquiry following several reports that concluded hundreds of millions of dollars in illegal cash was fuelling B.C.’s real estate, luxury vehicle and gaming sectors.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

money laundering

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

It’s been almost a year since the last public performance inside the Chemainus Theatre. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Lead donors pledge $60,000 in matching campaign at the Chemainus Theatre

Perrys, Hiltons and Duncan Iron Works help to Bridge the Gap during COVID shutdown

Doug Routley is the chair of a special committee on reforming the Police Act. (File photo)
Routley selected chair of a special committee on reforming the Police Act

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA acknowledges there will be a lot of material to process

Beautiful flowers spring up on Thetis Island during February. (Photo by Kelly Bannister)
Weather conditions cover the full spectrum in February

The only thing missing from the region was a more summerlike feel

Police are investigating after a man was killed at a home on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Police investigating early-morning murder in Duncan

One arrested after man killed at Cowichan Lake Road home

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

(File photo)
RCMP arrest man after report of gun-toting threat-maker near Parksville schools

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

Most Read