As RCMP investigated casino money laundering, police distrust of B.C. government grew

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Senior police officers were concerned B.C. government officials might have leaked information that “compromised” October, 2015 RCMP raids targeting sophisticated alleged underground casinos in Richmond, B.C., according to records from a B.C. Lottery Corp. whistle-blower.

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The records obtained by Global News and source interviews suggest that as RCMP’s Federal Serious and Organized Crime (FSOC) unit ramped up casino money laundering and underground banking investigations in 2015, senior police and B.C. Gaming Policy Enforcement Branch (GPEB) investigators increasingly viewed B.C. Lottery Corp. (BCLC) — and possibly others in B.C.’s government — with distrust.


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Notes taken by Ross Alderson, BCLC’s former head of anti-money laundering, say that on Oct. 19, 2015 he and senior Vancouver Police anti-gang officer Mike Serr discussed co-ordinated RCMP raids that took place on Oct. 15, 2015 as part of the E-Pirate investigation.

WATCH: Global investigation raises more money laundering concerns






And there were serious concerns that the suspected illegal casino operators may have gotten advance warning that police were watching.

“Discussed sensitivity in sharing information as Operation was compromised,” Alderson’s notes say. “No. 4 Rd Location had original warrant date (Oct 14) circled on a calendar. Concerns Govt knew more than Senior Police did.”

The E-Pirate raids of 11 locations, including an alleged underground bank in a Richmond office building and luxurious homes that RCMP said hosted illegal casinos, targeted a suspected organized crime loan shark named Paul King Jin and a number of Lottery Corp. high-rollers from China, according to Alderson’s notes.

“11 locations hit – Some residential. No arrests at gaming houses (vacant),” Alderson’s notes say.


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Serr, who is now the chief of Abbotsford Police, said he could not comment for this story.

Alderson’s notes contain a detailed breakdown of the cash, computers, and casino equipment the RCMP say they seized in the E-Pirate raids. About $6 million in cash was seized, and three Baccarat tables, plus 7,000 decks of new cards, according to police.

And there were two illegal casinos, including a mansion on Richmond’s No. 4 Road, with “29 surveillance cameras,” and stacks of chips that could have come from Lottery Corp. casinos, according to allegations in the notes.

But the alleged casinos believed to be run by Chinese Triads appeared to have been quickly abandoned.

Global News asked the RCMP and B.C.’s government whether information was believed to be leaked that compromised E-Pirate raids, and whether there have been investigations into the integrity of information sharing between RCMP and B.C.’s government. By deadline they had not responded to questions.


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Global News has been unable to reach Jin directly or through his lawyer for comment on the allegations. No charges have been filed. Charges were stayed in the E-Pirate investigation, and the B.C. combined forces anti-gang and illegal gaming unit has made a number of arrests in a related investigation. Evidence is now being reviewed by B.C. crown prosecutors, and its not known whether charges will be laid.

Alderson told Serr that the Lottery Corp. was aware of the location of the alleged gaming houses and lists of Chinese VIPs believed to be connected to Jin, his notes say. BCLC also knew high levels of B.C.’s government had been briefed, according to Alderson’s notes.

Alderson’s notes said that he and Serr “agreed that a lot of people had inside knowledge of this operation but reiterated no one (to my knowledge knew of any dates of the operation).”

“I talked about concerns that (BCLC’s) gaming expertise may not be utilized through cutting BCLC out,” Alderson’s notes on the call with Serr, concluded. “Assured him that BCLC did not know dates of operation.”

But sources with knowledge of the perspectives of GPEB and RCMP investigators, said that GPEB investigators had joined a special task-force in the spring of 2015 and accompanied RCMP on the E-Pirate raids in October. And the B.C. gaming regulator investigators later openly complained that the raids had been compromised.

WATCH: B.C. union calls for casino money-laundering public inquiry in B.C.






Growing distrust

According to Alderson’s notes, even before the compromised E-Pirate raids, he had learned by September 2015 that senior police in B.C. and GPEB investigators were losing trust in the Lottery Corp.

But back in February 2015, according to Alderson’s records, the Lottery Corp. and RCMP apparently had agreed to share information for a targeted probe of Jin.

On Feb. 12 at the Lottery Corp.’s head office in Vancouver: “BCLC met with RCMP (federal serious and organized crime) to lodge a complaint (of) cash drop offs at Casinos involving a male by the name of Paul ‘King’ JIN who was believed to be associated to organized crime,” a report filed by Alderson says. Alderson told Serr that the Lottery Corp. was aware of the location of the gaming houses and lists of Chinese VIPs believed to be connected to Jin, his notes say.

On July 20 and 22, Alderson had discussions on the Jin file with senior RCMP officer Calvin Chrustie. A report from Alderson says that Chrustie advised him of investigations into underground banking at an alleged Richmond “cash house” as well as probes of gamblers in Lottery Corp. and illegal casinos.

The RCMP had “uncovered that potentially some of the funds at the cash house were linked to transnational drug trafficking and terrorist financing,” Alderson’s report says.

Alderson’s records say that in the following days, officials including Lottery Corp. executives, and high-level officials in B.C.’s government were briefed on the bombshell information.


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But for some reason, information sharing with the Lottery Corp. had gone sour by September 2015, according to a report filed that month by Alderson.

In his September 2015 report, Alderson wrote he had “received information that senior police had directed their operational staff to deal with GPEB rather than BCLC. Comments were made that there had been unwillingness by BCLC leadership to address, what was in the police’s eyes, clear acceptance of huge volumes of cash which ‘one could reasonably suspect were likely proceeds of crime.’”

In response, BCLC said that it takes money laundering seriously, and that in advance of E-Pirate, from late 2014 through February 2015 BCLC asked the RCMP to investigate suspected loan sharks.

WATCH: Were B.C. casino staff connected to money-laundering suspects?






BCLC stated: “a senior official of the RCMP advised that while BCLC should continue to share information with the RCMP and complete suspicious transaction reports, that official also cautioned BCLC not to take any other action without first discussing it with the RCMP’s Federal Serious and Organized Crime, ‘so as not to impede any ongoing criminal investigation.’”

While Serr is not with the RCMP, court filings show that throughout 2015, RCMP’s FSOC and Vancouver police had overlapping drug-trafficking and casino money laundering probes focused on a transnational Chinese gang connected to a massive alleged underground bank in Richmond with suspected links to Latin American and Middle East drug traffickers.

International anti-money laundering officials estimate the Richmond underground bank laundered over $1.2 billion per year for international narcos.

sam.cooper@globalnews.ca

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In Vancouver, a haven for money laundering, some people use ‘bags of cash’ to pay their property taxes

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VANCOUVER—A councillor’s chance encounter with a taxpayer in the parking lot of city hall toting “bags of cash” to pay his property taxes has sparked a renewed focus on whether B.C. cities are doing enough to fight money laundering.

Counc. Melissa De Genova drafted a motion to council last week after a man carrying a bag of cash approached her outside of city hall and asked her where to go to pay his taxes.

The City of Vancouver accepted 19 cash payments in excess of $10,000 in 2018, and has received about 15 a year over the past six years, usually to pay property taxes, according to the city’s finance department.

After De Genova’s motion passed asking city staff to examine whether they should investigate the source of large cash payments for property taxes and business licences, the city said it would no longer accept cash payments over $10,000.

Vancouver has a reputation for being a haven for money laundering, said Christine Duhaime, a lawyer who specializes in financial crime. Under the direction of Attorney General David Eby, the province is currently investigating the extent of money laundering in B.C.’s real-estate sector.

Duhaime said De Genova’s worry about cash payments is probably misplaced, because it’s not an area that has been flagged as high-risk by international anti-money laundering bodies, and Duhaime said many people who now live in Canada come from countries where corruption is common and are averse to using the banking system.

But based on what she sees regularly in her practice, Duhaime said the public is right to be concerned about money laundering in British Columbia and there are things cities could do to help deter the practice.

“I have files I’m working on right now where people from China defrauded a bank over there, left China, somehow get immigration status here, and buy a bunch of houses in Richmond (a suburb of Vancouver), and then the banks in China trace them here,” said Duhaime. “And we’re not talking $10,000. It’s more like $10 million.”

One of her current files involves someone who was on a wanted list.

“I just shake my head,” Duhaime said. “How did he get a bank account? How did he get a mortgage? How come all these banks in China want him, but we can’t figure out that he’s on a wanted list?”

She said Metro Vancouver cities could work proactively on money-laundering risk in three areas that do fall under their jurisdiction: casinos, real estate and policing.

For instance, cities could make casinos sign agreements that require operators to report on what they are doing “to ensure our cities are not safe havens for money laundering.”

Cities could ask developers who apply for rezoning to provide their anti-money laundering policy, setting out how, for example, they can reassure the city that the proceeds of crime won’t be used to purchase unit in a new highrise.

Like casinos and banks, real-estate developers are subject to federal proceeds-of-crime legislation.

On policing, municipal governments set the mandate and budget for city police forces, Duhaime said. The motion passed by Vancouver city council includes working with the Vancouver Police Department to explore ways the city can implement a bylaw to require all people or companies involved in property transactions to provide “specific information to the city in the interests of deterring money laundering and the business of organized crime.”

The motion also directs city staff to work with the VPD to see whether the city could legally require information from property owners and business-licence applicants to help it prevent money laundering.

Jen St. Denis is a Vancouver-based reporter covering affordability and city hall. Follow her on Twitter: @jenstden

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Money laundering in B.C. estimated at $1B a year — but reports were not shared with province, AG says

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Documents that say money laundering in British Columbia now reaches into the billions of dollars are startling to the province’s attorney general, who says the figures have finally drawn the attention of the federal government.

David Eby said he’s shocked and frustrated because the higher estimates appear to have been known by the federal government and the RCMP, but weren’t provided to the B.C. government.

He said he recently spoke to Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale about information gaps concerning cash being laundered in B.C. and he’ll be meeting next week with Minister of Organized Crime Reduction Bill Blair.

« I’ve been startled initially by the lack of response nationally to what appeared to me to be a very profound issue in B.C. that was of national concern, » said Eby.

Surveillance video shows bundles of $20 bills dumped at a B.C. casino in an example of apparent money laundering. (B.C. Ministry of Attorney General)

Last June, former Mountie Peter German estimated money laundering in B.C. amounted to more than $100 million in his government-commissioned Dirty Money report into activities at provincial casinos.

Eby said that number now appears low, especially after the release of an international report that pegs money laundering in B.C. at more than $1 billion annually, although a time period wasn’t mentioned in the report.

A second report by the RCMP estimates $1 billion worth of property transactions in Vancouver were tied to the proceeds of crime, the attorney general said.

The government had estimated that it was a $200 million-a-year operation, but the federal Ministry of Finance has provided estimates that pegs the problem at $1 billion annually, Eby said.

The provincial government only learned about the reports through media leaks or their public release and it wasn’t consulted about the reports, Eby said.

« The question I ask myself is, « Why am I reading about this in an international report instead of receiving the information government to government? »’ he said. « It’s those information gaps that organized crime thrives in and we need to do a better job between our governments. »

G7 report highlights billion-dollar problem

A report issued last July by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force, a body of G7 member countries fighting money laundering, terrorist financing and threats to the international financial system, highlighted B.C. money laundering activities.

Eby said the report includes details about a clandestine banking operation laundering money in B.C. that was not fully known by the provincial government.

Surveillance footage of alleged money laundering. (Supplied)

« It is estimated that they laundered more than $1 billion (Canadian) per year through an underground banking network, involving legal and illegal casinos, money value transfer services and asset procurement, » stated the report.

« One portion of the money laundering network’s illegal activities was the use of drug money, illegal gambling money and money derived from extortion to supply cash to Chinese gamblers in Canada. »

The report stated the gamblers would call contacts who would make cash deliveries in casino parking lots and use the money to buy casino chips, cash them in and deposit the proceeds into a Canadian bank.

« Some of these funds were used for real estate purchases, » the report stated. « Surveillance identified links to 40 different organizations, including organized groups in Asia that dealt with cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. »

B.C. ‘still’ hasn’t seen report: Eby

Eby said the G7 task force report included information about money laundering in B.C. from the federal government, via the RCMP, that the province didn’t have.

He said the B.C. government also confirmed the RCMP compiled an intelligence report about proceeds of crime connections to luxury real estate property sales in Vancouver, but his ministry doesn’t have the report.

« We still don’t have a copy of it, » Eby said.

Blair could not be reached for comment but, in a statement, said the federal government takes the threat posed by money laundering and organized crime seriously and is collaborating with the B.C. government and German.

Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Bill Blair. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

« We are taking action to combat this by enhancing the RCMP’s investigative and intelligence capabilities both in Canada and abroad, and our Financial Intelligence Unit further helps protect Canadians and our financial system, » said the statement.

German’s report to the provincial government last June concluded B.C.’s gaming industry was not prepared for the onslaught of illegal cash at the casinos and estimated more than $100 million was funnelled through the casinos.

He was appointed last fall to conduct a second review identifying the scale and scope of illegal activity in the real estate market and whether money laundering is linked to horse racing and the sale of luxury vehicles.

« We’re having some difficulty getting the information we need for Dr. German to make a true assessment of the extent of the problem facing B.C., » said Eby.

Peter German (left) a former deputy commissioner of the RCMP at the launch of his Dirty Money report in June 2018. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

‘A lot of anecdotal evidence’

Maureen Maloney, a former B.C. deputy attorney general, was also appointed last fall to lead an expert panel on money laundering in real estate and report to the government in March.

« We do realize there is a lot of anecdotal evidence on the extent of money laundering in real estate, but we really don’t have a good handle on that, » said Maloney. « We’re looking at whether or not we can produce some good evidence of that. We’re looking at, do we have that data available in B.C., or indeed Canada. »

Confidential provincial government documents dated April 2017 and released through Freedom of Information requests show the government was tracking suspicious currency transactions at B.C. casinos, especially in $20 bills, for years. The high-point of these transactions was more than $176 million in 2014-2015.

In 2008, CBC journalists took $24,000 in cash to B.C. casinos to see just how easy money laundering would be. Turns out it wasn’t hard at all:

Investigation lauded in last week’s Peter German report on B.C. casinos 4:55

Documents dated August 2016 show the government’s Gaming Policy Enforcement Branch observed so-called « high roller » patrons at a Metro Vancouver casino for a year starting in January 2015 and concluded people connected to real estate were the top buy-in gamblers at $53.1 million.

A spokesman for B.C.’s gaming industry said reports from the gaming operators about cash transactions flagged concerns of money laundering.

Peter Goudron, B.C. Gaming Industry Association executive director, said casinos implemented measures to combat potential money laundering, including placing cash restrictions on players in 2015.

« This had the effect of reducing the value of suspicious transactions by more than 60 per cent over the next two years, » he said. « More recently, operators implemented Dr. Peter German’s interim recommendation requiring additional scrutiny of large cash buy-ins in January 2018 and this has further driven down the number of suspicious transactions. »

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Toronto real estate is vulnerable to money laundering

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Toronto’s booming real estate market is vulnerable to money laundering because real estate agents aren’t notifying authorities of suspicious property transactions, leading the national anti-money laundering agency, FINTRAC, to step up its audits of the industry.

Real estate agents are required by federal law to file “suspicious transaction reports.” From 2013 to 2017, there were more than 2.5 million real estate transactions in Canada, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. In that same five year period, real estate agents and developers made only 197 suspicious transactions reports.

“These reports are critical to the centre’s analytical process and the financial intelligence it generates for police, law enforcement and national security agencies,” writes FINTRAC in its latest annual report. “Because suspicious transaction reports have a narrative component, these reports have the potential to provide tremendous intelligence value to the centre.”

The small number of reports shows that relying on real estate agents to catch money launderers isn’t going to work, said John Pasalis, the founder of the real estate analytics website Realosophy. “It’s self-reporting,” he said. “People are not going to police themselves.”

Large commissions create a perverse financial incentive for agents, Pasalis says, deterring them from filing reports.

“In a lot of these cases, the agents know what’s going on,” he said. “The expectation that the people doing it are actually also going to raise their hand and say: ‘By the way I’m helping someone launder money.’ I mean it’s a little bit silly, right?”

This month, the parliamentary finance committee recommended stricter anti-money laundering rules for the real estate sector, which it said is “highly vulnerable” to money laundering.

“We see it as a serious issue,” Liberal MP Wayne Easter, chair of the committee, told the Star. “We want to stop those using the real estate industry for alterior motives.”

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FINTRAC has stepped up its enforcement efforts, carrying out 152 “compliance evaluations” on real estate professionals in 2016-17, and the industry has responded. Suspicious transaction reports have more than tripled in the last three years, rising from 32 to 115.

“For 2018-2019, FINTRAC has planned a significant number of compliance examinations in the real estate sector. Subsequent to these examinations should it be warranted, FINTRAC will pursue additional actions to change non-compliant behaviour, including follow-up examinations, action plans, administrative monetary penalties, or disclosure of non-compliance to law enforcement,” said FINTRAC spokesperson Dino Roberge in an email.

The FINTRAC audits have focused on Vancouver, where organized crime groups have been using real estate to launder proceeds of drug imports. This has left the Toronto market open to abuse.

International and domestic authorities have been sounding the alarm for years that lax real estate regulations and a lack of transparency are facilitating money laundering and tax evasion across Canada.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international body that evaluates financial risk for corruption and crime, issued a critical report on Canada in 2016, saying this country is not compliant with international guidelines to prevent money laundering, terrorist financing and corruption — especially in the real estate sector.

“It is suspected that criminally inclined real estate professionals, notably real estate lawyers, are used to facilitate money laundering,” states the FATF report on Canada. “Organized crime groups involved in mortgage fraud appear to launder funds through banks, money services businesses, legitimate businesses and trust accounts.”

The Canada Revenue Agency has also targeted the real estate sector for tax evasion. In the last three years, CRA audits have identified more than half-a-billion dollars in unpaid taxes from real estate deals.

In 2016, FINTRAC published an operational brief on money laundering warning “the real estate sector is highly susceptible for many reasons — for example, easy price manipulation and a variety of complex options for selling/purchasing/financing with anonymity.”

The brief included a list of “indicators of money laundering in real estate” that include red flags common in the Toronto real estate market: Under and over-valuation, large cash transactions, rapid flipping, anonymous ownership, inflated mortgages, funds from countries with weak anti-money laundering laws, banking secrecy or high levels of political corruption, private sales, complex ownership structures and the use of P.O. boxes instead of real addresses.

The OECD and FATF have published similar lists, which include two additional indicators of money laundering not uncommon in Toronto property transactions: buyers charged or convicted for financial crimes and deals that involve disregard for the loss of deposit.

Though Canada is not widely recognized as a good place to launder money or evade taxes, the Panama Papers and Paradise Papers investigations have shown how dirty money is coming here, attracted by weak financial regulations and lax law enforcement.

“Criminals bring illicit funds into the Canadian financial system through methods and techniques that disguise them as legitimate financial transactions. This allows criminals to purchase assets and eventually sell them in order to enjoy the funds generated by what otherwise appear as honest activities,” the FINTRAC brief states.

Those who bring dirty money to Canada aren’t getting caught and the few that do, don’t get convicted.

“Legal persons are hardly ever prosecuted for money laundering offenses, mainly because of a shortage of adequate resources and expertise,” states the FATF report.

Of the 3,222 money laundering charges laid from 2006-07 to 2015-16, only 343 — or 11 per cent — led to a conviction. Eighty-six percent, or 2,759 charges, were either withdrawn or stayed, according to data provided by Statistics Canada.

FINTRAC says this illicit activity has systemic effects on anyone looking for a place to live in Toronto.

“In the real estate sector, the injection of illicit funds into the housing market can artificially inflate selling prices, thus making homes unaffordable.”

With files from Jessica Cheung, Michael D’Alimonte, Ricardo Serrano and Joti Grewal.

Marco Chown Oved is a Toronto-based investigative reporter. Follow him on Twitter: @marcooved

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Laundering laws, not racism, may have barred Drake from gambling in Vancouver

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VANCOUVER—British Columbia’s new anti-money-laundering laws, not racial profiling, may have been what prevented Drake from gambling in Vancouver last weekend, according to several sources — including an online post purporting to be from an employee at the casino.

The Toronto rapper, full name Aubrey Drake Graham, just turned 32 on Oct. 24 and has a penchant for visiting casinos around the date, according to previous social-media posts.

On Instagram, Drake wrote: “Parq Casino is the worst run business I have ever witnessed … Profiling me and not allowing me to gamble when I had everything they originally asked me for.”

Drake’s account was disputed by a Reddit user who claimed he is a Parq casino employee, though StarMetro could not independently verify the truth of that claim. The user didn’t respond to an email requesting more information. CTV News, however, said it verified the events described with another unnamed source.

The user, “O-A-N,” alleged that Drake ran afoul of rules requiring he produce proof he withdrew funds of more than $10,000 the same day and declare its source.

“Basically, you need a bank receipt for the same day you buy in,” the Reddit post said. “He was refused service because of (the British Columbia Lottery Corporation’s) policy that requires source of funds from any player trying to buy in for more than $10,000 in cash.

Read more:

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“Parq tried to do everything they could to allow him to gamble … including calling up BCLC. Drake and his entourage were well informed of this policy when they were refused service. If Parq allowed Drake to break this law, they could lose their gambling licence.”

According to an update from the same Reddit user, Drake did end up gambling both that night and the next day.

“He was there for at least six hours that I know of,” the user wrote. “Drake did in fact gamble for a while. Not only did he have his own ($10,000) buy-in, he had a friend at one point wire him money to Parq, which they accepted, and he gambled some more.

“When he lost that, he tried to buy in again with cash and he was refused again. Seems like after losing everything, he left and threw and made that post.”

A spokesperson for Parq Vancouver told StarMetro she “can’t comment on specific customers” for privacy reasons but said that “Parq Vancouver is responsible for following all of the regulations set out by B.C. (Lotteries Corp). We follow these guidelines for every customer.”

The casino said in a Saturday post on its Instagram account it is “constantly improving our communications process to ensure that these new regulations are better understood by all guests … We are operating in one of the most complex, highly regulated industries and are always looking to better our communication and customer service.

“We categorically stand against racism of any kind.”

In a statement on its website, B.C. Lotteries Corporation says it requires reporting of any cash buy-in of $10,000 or more, including the customer’s identification and a bank receipt.

“All cash and bank draft/certified cheque buy-ins for $10,000 or more, in one or more transactions within a 24-hour period, will require a source of funds receipt,” the Crown corporation said. “The original receipt must be from the same day of the transaction and show the financial institution, branch number and account number.

“This information will be required before a customer is allowed to buy in.”

After Attorney General David Eby took office last year, he described being shown video footage of hundreds of thousands of dollars — in elastic-bound $20s — being dumped from duffel bags at casino teller wickets. He responded by ordering a report by former RCMP regional commissioner Peter German.

German’s bombshell report was titled Dirty Money. Compared to other jurisdictions, B.C. had allowed money laundering and organized criminal activity to flourish over a decade in its casinos, the report said, and the previous government had shuttered an anti-money-laundering enforcement unit despite insiders’ warnings about the problem.

As a result, Eby tabled and passed a revamp of B.C.’s casino legislation, including measures to force gaming businesses to flag all transactions over $10,000 to authorities and require them to prove where they got the cash on the same day.

And according to Eby on Monday, the new laws have worked, causing a “remarkable and sharp decline in suspicious transactions,” adding there’s been a “reduction of about 100 times from the peak of suspicious cash transactions.”

For that reason, Eby said, there can be no exceptions regarding disclosure.

B.C.’s rules are by no means unique. Had Drake or any celebrity walked into, say, a Las Vegas casino owned by Parq’s operator, Paragon Gaming, he would have discovered a tight net of laws and regulations also govern cash transactions there.

German visited Las Vegas, the hub of gaming on the continent, and met with enforcement officials and regulators there. His recommendations were largely inspired by Nevada’s model, including encouraging alternatives to cash and requiring identification and detailed record-keeping on large transactions.

“I hypothesized that a box of cash arrived with rubber bands at a cash cage,” German wrote about his meetings with Las Vegas’ deputy chief of the enforcement division and a casino investigator. “What would occur? The officers doubted that this would occur in Las Vegas.”

According to the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (the equivalent of Canada’s FinTRAC), “a casino is required to file a (Currency Transaction Report by Casinos) on currency transactions by or on behalf of any customer that, alone or when aggregated, exceed $10,000 in a gaming day.”

The same law applies to poker players buying in with “more than $10,000 in chips with currency, in a single transaction or a series of related transactions in the same gaming day.”

Violations in the U.S. could cost a casino $25,000 every day of the violation occurring, up to $100,000 per violation.

Drizzy has said nothing beyond his call-out on Instagram. But in his song “Diplomatic Immunity,” released on Jan. 19, he sings about a previous incident at a casino in Detroit:

“I refuse to comply with regulations … Motor City Casino, I’m at the cage with my old licence. They tell me, ‘Don’t worry, I got your money.’”

With files from The Canadian Press

David P. Ball is a Vancouver-based reporter covering democracy and politics. Follow him on Twitter: @davidpball

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