MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

Reports of money laundering at British Columbia casinos had the attention of the government a decade ago, says the interim leader of the Liberal party who was then the minister in charge of gaming.

But Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns when the gaming file was part of her duties as the solicitor general and minister of public safety in 2011.

She told the commission looking into money laundering in the province that as minister she implemented most recommendations of a government report on anti-money laundering strategies.

However, the report’s call to create a cross-agency task force to investigate and gather intelligence on suspicious activities at casinos was delayed under her watch, Bond said.

The government appointed B.C. Supreme Court Justice Austin Cullen in May 2019 to lead the public inquiry into money laundering after three reports outlined how hundreds of millions of dollars in illegal cash affected B.C.’s real estate, luxury vehicle and gaming sectors.

Bond said reports of money laundering at casinos were a matter of concern when gaming was part of her ministry.

“I certainly think the government’s response to media reports … meant that it was on the government’s radar screen,” she said. “It certainly had government’s attention.”

The responsibility for gaming was transferred away from Bond to another ministry in early 2012.

Bond testified she could not recall being advised by top-ranking government gaming investigators that organized crime groups were suspected of providing large cash loans to casino patrons as part of a money laundering scheme.

“To the best of my recollection, that was not raised directly with me as minister,” she said.

Bond said she never discussed reports of millions of dollars of suspicious cash at casinos being linked to money laundering and organized crime with former premier Christy Clark.

“I do not remember having a specific conversation with her about that,” said Bond.

Clark told the public inquiry earlier this week she first heard from sources within the government in 2015 about a spike in suspicious cash at casinos.

The inquiry is expected to hear testimony from more former and current B.C. politicians in the coming days.

Former Liberal cabinet ministers Mike de Jong and Rich Coleman and current New Democrat Attorney General David Eby are scheduled to testify.

Earlier Thursday, Premier John Horgan’s top bureaucrat testified she did not tell Coleman, the former Liberal gaming minister, to stop the flow of illegal cash at casinos.

Lori Wanamaker denied saying, “Rich, we have to do something about this,” during a meeting with Coleman and former gaming investigator Larry Vander Graaf.

“I would never refer to the minister by his given name,” said Wanamaker, a former deputy minister in the Liberal government and now Horgan’s deputy minister, cabinet secretary and head of the public service.

The B.C. government granted the commission an extension in March to produce its final report, which is now due on Dec. 15.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

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

Just Posted

Aldergrove Community Secondary. (Aldergrove Star files)
Noel Booth, Douglas Park, RE Mountain, and Aldergrove Secondary see positive COVID tests

As of Monday, May 10, 18 schools are currently on the Fraser Health exposure list

Langley’s Madison Sweeney a 5’8” forward who began her career playing for Walnut Grove Secondary, has signed with the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) Cascades women’s soccer team. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley’s Madison Sweeney signs with UFV Cascades soccer team

UFV ‘checks all the boxes’ for former Walnut Grove player

Langley is home to a wide range of outstanding athletes, ranging from cycling champion Svein Tuft to MMA fighter Tristan Connelly and figure skating legend Karen Magnussen (files)
Making a list of Langley’s outstanding athletes

Website organizer is looking for suggestions

On hand for the presentation of a cheque to the Langley Food Bank was Jim Calamunce, executive director of the food bank (L), Langley City councillor Rudy Storteboom (centre) and Mike Partridge, manager of the South Langley IGA. (R) (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Shoppers at Langley IGA stores donate $10K to food bank

Customers showed ‘incredible generosity’ says store spokesperson

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Dr. Victoria Lee, CEO of Fraser Health, hosts an update on efforts to contain B.C.’s COVID-19 transmission in Surrey and the Fraser Valley and protect hospitals in the Lower Mainland, May 6, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate slowing, 20 more people die

Deaths include two people in their 40s, two in their 50s

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds are in the Comox Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Suspected bird strike on Snowbirds plane during training in B.C.

Pilot followed protocols and landed the aircraft on the ground without any problems

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

BCIT. (Wikimedia Commons)
BCIT apologizes after employee’s ‘offensive and hurtful’ email leaked to Métis Nation

BCIT says employee’s conduct has been investigated and addressed

An adult male yellow-breasted chat is shown in this undatd photograph on lands protected in collaboration between the En’owkin Centre and Penticton Indian Band with support through ECCC. The rescue from near extinction for a little yellow bird hinges on the wild rose in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, a researcher says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, A. Michael Bezener/ En’owkin Centre 2020 *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Rare yellow birds need wild roses to survive in British Columbia: researcher

The importance of local wild roses emerged over a nearly 20-year experiment

RCMP officers search around rows of luggage carts as screens block off an area of the sidewalk after a shooting outside the international departures terminal at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Police say gang conflict in Metro Vancouver may be behind shooting death at airport

Police said this generation of gangsters is taking things to new level and have no regard for community safety

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Most Read