In the wake of the explosive Peter German report which connected money-laundering in B.C. to the fentanyl crisis and housing market, we look at reactions from journalists, politicians and the public, talk about who is to blame and discuss the growing calls for a public inquiry.

This episode was recorded on unceded Coast Salish territory.

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What was the Peter German Report on money-laundering?

In September 2017, Attorney General David Eby asked money-laundering expert to look into suspicious transactions and allegations of money-laundering in casinos in B.C. That report was given to David Eby in March 2018 and made public at the end of June.

German outlines how fentanyl drug dealers have been laundering dirty cash through casinos. The report specifically mentions the lack of action from the government at that time, and the decisions then-ministers made that lead to increases in money-laundering activities.

Deeper reading:

Podcast for March 2018: The dark underbelly of B.C., The Dogwood Podcast, Lisa Sammartino

They turned a blind eye to it,’ says Eby on release of damning German report into money laundering at B.C. casinos, The Vancouver Sun, Gordon Hoekstra

Dirty Money, Peter German

Stop whitewashing the bloodstains from BC’s Dirty Money laundromat, National Observer, Sandy Garrossino

How did the BC Liberals respond?

The party sent new MLA Jas Johal out to talk to the press. It is important to note Jas Johal is recently elected and was not in government at the time. He stated: “The report confirms that money-laundering in our casinos is a problem and the previous Liberal government took measures to address that and they worked.”

Eventually, the minister responsible, Rich Coleman, did speak to Lynda Steele on CKNW. He claimed that the BC Liberals did not take any campaign donations from gaming companies, which, Elections BC shows us, is incorrect.

Deeper reading:

B.C. Liberals make party look worse with clumsy defence of money-laundering report, The Vancouver Sun, Vaughn Palmer

Talking to former BC Solicitor General Rich Coleman about Dr. Peter German’s Dirty Money Report on BC casinos, CKNW, Lynda Steele

How much money in donations have casinos, real estate or new car dealers given to the BC Liberals?

The original casino under investigation for money-laundering, River Rock Casino, has donated $3,800, while its parent company, Great Canadian Gaming has given $114,700 to the BC Liberals.

Gateway Casinos has donated more than $220,000 to the BC Liberals, including almost $400 to Rich Coleman himself. Investigative journalist Sean Holman has found that donations from private community bingo and gaming centres between 2002 and 2007 may have topped $250,000.

The New Car Dealers Association of B.C. has donated $1.3 million to the BC Liberals. Real estate developers account for eight of the ten top donors to the BC Liberals in 2016, giving for $1.5 million in contributions in 2016 alone.

Deeper reading:

Real estate developers topped B.C. Liberal donor list in the past year, The Vancouver Sun, Gordon Hoekstra

BC Liberals rolled the dice with taxpayers’ trust, Dogwood, Lisa Sammartino

Money Tied to Gambling Interests Poured into BC Liberal Coffers, The Tyee, Sean Holman

What is a public inquiry?

An inquiry is an independent investigation of decision-making in government. The commission can interview witnesses and subpoena documents, just like a court of law.

Well-known B.C. examples include the Missing Women’s (Oppal) Inquiry and the Braidwood Commission. Quebec’s Charbonneau Commission and the federal Gomery Inquiry resulted in stronger political donation laws.

This investigation can’t be run by politicians. We need an independent police task force to expose and dig out the rot.

Depending on what the police task force finds, the Premier and ministers could then appoint a commissioner and a panel to launch an inquiry. Once appointed, it is completely arms length and can’t be stopped by the government.

But first we need to show the government they have public support to make this call.

Deeper reading

BC needs a Big Money inquiry, fast, Dogwood, Lisa Sammartino

Extended interview: Former head of B.C.’s illegal gambling enforcement team had raised concerns, Global News, John Hua

Horgan open to inquiry on money-laundering in casinos, The Globe and Mail, Sunny Dhillon and Ian Bailey

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