B.C. Attorney General David Eby talks about the details found in a recent report done by an expert panel about billions in money laundering in the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, May 9, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

‘Whistleblower’ not granted standing at B.C. money laundering inquiry

Meanwhile, comissioner Austin Cullen granted status to James Lightbody, president of the B.C. Lottery Corp.

A former RCMP officer described by his lawyer as a whistleblower for investigating organized crime in casinos has lost his bid for standing at an inquiry into money laundering in British Columbia.

Commissioner Austin Cullen says in a written ruling that Fred Pinnock argued his observations led him to conclude the public was being misled about the nature and degree of money laundering and other criminal activity allegedly taking place in casinos.

Cullen says Pinnock also asserted at a hearing last week that if he was not granted standing, the inquiry would only hear from those with private interests and that there is a need to “level the playing field.”

But Cullen says inquires are not courts and are convened only to investigate and report findings.

While the commissioner did not accept Pinnock’s submissions, he granted status at the inquiry to James Lightbody, president of the B.C. Lottery Corp.

In the case of Pinnock, Cullen says there is nothing to suggest his reputational, legal or privacy interests would be implicated in the inquiry as he has suggested, and there’s a chance his recollections, observations and conclusions may be challenged.

ALSO READ: Large cash purchases, ‘lifestyle audits’ to fight money laundering gain support in B.C.

Cullen says that until commission lawyers have assessed his assertions by interviewing witnesses and reviewing relevant documents, it’s not possible to gauge to what extent Pinnock’s interests will be put at stake or require protection through getting participant status.

Pinnock’s lawyer, Paul Jaffe, told Cullen at the hearing that the inquiry would not exist without his client, who took early retirement in 2008.

“His is not a situation like those of other individuals or agencies who fall within the compass of the commission’s mandate to investigate the acts or omissions of responsible regulatory agencies and individuals and whether those have contributed to money laundering in the province or amount to corruption,” Cullen says in his ruling.

“The thrust of Mr. Pinnock’s submissions is that he was attempting to overcome the apathy of those charged with the relevant responsibility, not that he was part of it.”

However, Cullen said that as with any potential witnesses, Pinnock could reapply for standing at the inquiry if it becomes apparent that his interests may be affected by the findings.

Cullen gave standing to Lightbody after he contended his position and responsibilities at the lottery corporation could lead to a determination that acts or omissions by individuals or regulatory authorities contributed to money laundering in B.C., and possibly be considered corruption.

Cullen says Lightbody submitted that he can offer his perspective and insight on governmental oversight of the corporation under the former Ministry of Finance and under the current Ministry of Attorney General, and can educate the commission about how casinos are operated in B.C.

The B.C. government announced the public inquiry in May. Cullen is considering multiple issues including those related real estate, gambling and financial institutions.

He is required to deliver an interim report by next November and a final report by May 2021.

On Friday, the province announced new rules to help end hidden ownership of private businesses as a way to stem money laundering and tax evasion.

The Finance Ministry says as of next May, private businesses will need to keep transparency records of beneficial owners, including those who have direct or indirect control of a company or its shares by providing information including full legal name, date of birth, citizenship and last-known address.

“Requiring businesses to maintain transparency registries means that criminals cannot hide what they own and that people are paying their fair share,” Finance Ministry Carole James says in a statement.

The ministry’s compliance and auditing officers, as well as law enforcement officials, will have access to the registry and information may also be shared with the Canada Revenue Agency in an effort to stop tax evasion, the ministry says in a news release.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

Just Posted

Underground utility work completed on Chemainus Road Corridor Project

Tendering process to determine a contractor to begin the second phase in mid-June

Void of summer events going to be felt in Chemainus

CBIA cancels Classics Car Show and Canada Day celebrations

Paid sick leave a must going forward

The chickens are coming home to roost, so to speak, on this issue during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cowichan RCMP remind public to leave dogs chilling at home on hot days

Dogsafe has designed a Dog in a Hot Car Responder Checklist

Courier continues through home work

Willow Street office in Chemainus no longer being utilized

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

B.C. aquaculture farm’s employees sweat it out to raise funds for food banks

For every five minutes of exercise recorded, Cermaq Canada is donating a dollar to local food banks in communities they operate

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

COVID cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a BC mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Stepdad able to walk bride down the aisle days before he passes away

Ceremony held amidst pandemic in order to fulfill bride’s wish to have stepdad give her away

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

Most Read