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

Abbotsford Panthers, WA Fraser Falcons girls basketball teams playing for title tomorrow

Abbotsford senior girls, Fraser Grade 8 girls playing for a banner on Saturday afternoon

Cities shouldn’t be on hook for highway interchanges they don’t own, Abbotsford mayor says

‘We’re supposed to pay for infrastructure that we don’t own,’ Abbotsford mayor says

UFV Cascades parting ways with men’s basketball head coach Adam Friesen

Friesen had been with the team for eight seasons, reasoning behind move unclear

Unnamed UFV professor found to have engaged in academic misconduct

University won’t release name of faculty member found to have breached academic policy

Yale Lions, Abbotsford Panthers competing in provincial semifinals tonight

Senior basketball teams can advance to provincial final with wins tonight in Langley

Toddler killed in Squamish grocery store parking lot

Child’s mother taken to hospital but her condition is not known

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

B.C. mother, daughter return home after coronavirus quarantine in Asia

Jensine Morabito and her daughter were on Holland America’s Westerdam but did not catch the virus

Leap Year means we get an extra day in February, so how are you spending it?

People online have a number of suggestions and plans on how they will be spending Saturday

Greta sticker that drew outrage in Alberta not child pornography: RCMP

X-Site Energy Services has denied having anything to do with the stickers

Bald eagle hit by train in northern B.C. has a chance of survival

The raptor has been taken to OWL in the Lower Mainland for recovery

Dragon boating changes lives for Spirit Abreast paddlers

The Cultus Lake based team is looking to fill a boat with breast cancer survivors and supporters.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation and Rio Tinto sign a historic agreement

Co-operation crucial to stem dropping Nechako Reservoir level

Most Read