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

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

(File Photo)
Lights, camera, action: IFF Film Club launches monthly discussions

The club meets virtually every second Tuesday of the month to chat about indie films

Fernie Delivery is the valley’s first delivery company. (Photo Contributed)
Fernie’s first delivery service kicks off

Fernie Delivery gives residents the chance to get any local goods delivered to their doorstep

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
‘Horrible’: Number of positive tests in Elk Valley on the rise

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
253 new COVID-19 cases, 4 more deaths in Interior Health over the weekend

More than 1,000 cases in the region remain active

(File Photo)
Fernie Heritage Library plans Family Literacy Day events

The Fernie Heritage Library is hosting a number of programs to get kids excited about reading

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

B.C.’s Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training announced funding to train community mental health workers at four B.C. post-secondary institutions. (Stock photo)
B.C. funding training of mental health workers at four post-secondary institutions

Provincial government says pandemic has intensified need for mental health supports

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
No Pfizer vaccines arriving in Canada next week; feds still expect 4M doses by end of March

More cases of U.K. variant, South African variant found in Canada

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

Robbie Campbell lost his livelihood when the pandemic shut down Shambhala Music Festival. Instead, he spent part of 2020 working on a children’s book called Tulip that is now available. Photo: Submitted
In a lousy year, a Kootenay man was saved by a pink T-rex

Robbie Campbell became a children’s author after the pandemic cost him his livelihood

Health-care workers wait in line at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadians who have had COVID-19 should still get the vaccine, experts say

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were found to have a 95 per cent efficacy

An empty Peel and Sainte-Catherine street is shown in Montreal, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Poll finds strong support for COVID-19 curfews despite doubts about effectiveness

The poll suggests 59 per cent remain somewhat or very afraid of contracting COVID-19

Sunnybank
COVID-19 related deaths at Oliver, West Kelowna and Vernon senior care homes

Sunnybank, Heritage Retirement Residence and Noric House recorded deaths over the weekend

Most Read