Friction Around BCLC Laundering Probe
A few months ago we had the announcement that the River Rock casino would undergo a money-laundering probe after a series of big money bets attracted the attention of the officials of British Columbia’s Gaming Policy and Enforcement of the Municipality. Now, by an act of their own, the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation has led to more suspicion in their direction. After being asked to provide communications that took place with the BC Lottery Corporation over the last 5 years, Great Canadian said it would comply at a cost of $ 500,000. This gesture is regarded as an extreme and has been interpreted as an attempt to prevent questions in the organization of the activities.
The Freedom of Information (FOI) request is from the casino workers’ union Unite Here. Marc Hollin, on behalf of the union, and asked whether Large Canadian send documentation of the last five years of the communications between the Great Canadian and the BCLC. This request was submitted as part of money-laundering probe.
In the answer of the lottery on the freedom of information analyst sent via a memo stating that the work would be an estimated 16,817 hours to complete, which makes the total cost of $ 504,480. The BCLC also asked that at least half of the amount to be paid in advance.
Hollin responded, “I was shocked and surprised by BCLC’s outrageously high estimate cost for our Freedom of Information request. We believe in the public’s fundamental right of access to information of our governments, including access to the documents relating to anti-money laundering compliance in the Canadian casinos.”
The BCLC, together with the Attorney General David Eby, the minister responsible, have refrained from sharing specific details with regard to the response to the request.
“When BCLC receive FOI requests which, in general, have been formulated and would be a lot of time, … our FOI team has a duty to assist and work with FOI applicants to try to clarify, to refine and reduce the size of the request to conduct a targeted search in the information that the applicant wants, for the assessment of a fee,” a statement of the BCLC read.
So, perhaps FOIs by large companies actually cost this much? It appears that they usually do not. Advocate of government transparency, Victor Gogolek, said that although the Unite Here is the FOI request is broad and requests information of a long period of time, the fee still seems high.
He explained, “”I’m not sure how much information you’re together to justify a bill of that size. How many records are we talking about? Of course, we don’t know.”
Gogolek said that the compensation “suggests”. “If you’re going to charge someone half a million dollars for a request, the message is, you can ask, but get ready for a fight. That must’t be the way it is” he said.
Legally, the BCLC can charge for a FOI-that requires more than 3 hours of work to produce. The clause is a part of British Columbia’s on the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act.
There is still a chance for the BCLC to waive the fee. A movement such as that would show more of a willingness to cooperate with the money laundering probe. Both Hollin and Gogolek hope that the BCLC will waive the fee, but if they do not have the law, a request for information may be requested without pay. In this case, it must be demonstrated that the case is a matter of public interest.
Unite Here has two options at this point. The union can appeal for the payment to be cancelled, or for it to be recalculated in the hope that it will be reduced.
In any case, we hope that the relative organisations show cooperation. Money laundering in casinos is a source of worry over the years, and it will be good to ensure that the industry is not harmed by this type of operations.
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