A former director of the anti-money laundering office of the British Columbia Lottery Corporation says he is the “whistleblower” who likely sparked the public investigation examining how hundreds of millions of dollars in illegal cash flowed through the casinos of the Province.
Ross Alderson, who testified for more than four hours Thursday, said he was forced to leak information about the alleged scope of casino money laundering and bureaucracy to activity at the highest levels.
“Did I leak information to the media? Yes, I did,” Alderson told the Cullen Commission’s public inquiry into money laundering. “We wouldn’t be here today if he didn’t.”
The new Democratic government appointed BC Supreme Court Justice Austin Cullen in 2019 to lead the money laundering investigation after several reports concluded that the flow of hundreds of millions in illegal cash linked to organized crime affected sectors of the real estate, luxury vehicles and gambling in the province.
Alderson, who has worked in the BC gaming industry since 2008, resigned from the Crown-owned lottery corporation in 2017.
It declared that its anti-money laundering intelligence and investigation team was “second to none”, but efforts to combat illegal cash in casinos were hampered by “indifference.”
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“I felt like this had to be in the public forum,” Alderson said of his decision to leak information about illegal money activities at casinos. “I saw that nothing was being done. Nothing was being done.”
The commission has heard earlier testimony from other high-level gaming investigators who said they raised concerns more than a decade ago with government and gaming officials, including cabinet ministers, about the increasing amounts of suspicious cash that are likely linked. with organized crime that shows up in Vancouver-area casinos.
Former Prime Minister Christy Clark and former Gaming Minister Rich Coleman are among the 200 people, including former cabinet ministers, police officers, gaming officials, financial crime experts and academics who have already testified.
Alderson was granted the right to appear before the commission after Cullen decided that his “legal, reputational or privacy interests may be affected by the commission’s findings regarding his acts and omissions in the gaming industry between 2008 and 2017 “.
Alderson, who testified from Australia, where he now lives, faced questions from the commission about his failure to respond to a subpoena to testify that was issued in March 2020.
The former British Columbia lottery director says he is a “whistleblower” about money laundering at #casinos. #BCPoli #Money Laundering
The commission’s attorney, Patrick McGowan, asked Alderson why the commission had to conduct an international “manhunt” to locate the former lottery official.
“I wasn’t exactly hiding in a cave in Afghanistan,” Alderson said. “I was in Australia, paying taxes.”
He said he was concerned about family matters and that he believed the commission should find him.
“There has been a global pandemic in the last year,” he said. “My priority has been the safety of my family. I am living on the other side of the world.”
Alderson’s testimony will continue on Friday.
Cullen’s final report, including recommendations, is due December 15.
– By Dirk Meissner in Victoria.
This Canadian Press report was first published on September 9, 2021.