(File photo)

Former cop who blew whistle wants standing in B.C. money laundering inquiry

Fred Pinnock, former head of B.C.’s illegal gaming enforcement team, became a ‘whistleblower’ in 2008

An inquiry into money laundering in B.C. would not exist without the “courage” of an ex-RCMP officer who spoke out about organized crime in casinos, his lawyer says.

Paul Jaffe told a hearing Friday that the public perception of the inquiry will be damaged if it doesn’t grant standing to Fred Pinnock, the former head of the illegal gaming enforcement team in B.C.

“Mr. Pinnock … was in a fairly unique position to see what he perceived as the interference with his stated mandate, far beyond simple indifference or neglect, as to the systemic use of gaming venues to facilitate money laundering,” Jaffe told commissioner Austin Cullen.

Cullen called the hearing to consider applications for standing from Pinnock as well as B.C. Lottery Corp. executives James Lightbody and Brad Desmarais.

Jaffe said that Pinnock served the RCMP for 29 years and became the unit commander of the gaming team in 2005. His concerns about money laundering were so meaningful that he took early retirement in 2008 and became a “whistleblower,” the lawyer told the hearing.

He also credited Ross Alderson, a former investigator employed by the lottery corporation, with bringing forward concerns that helped spur the inquiry. Alderson had also requested standing but he has since withdrawn his application in favour of being a witness.

However, Jaffe said it’s essential to the public’s view of the inquiry as operating on a “level playing field” that Pinnock be treated as more than a witness, with the ability to cross-examine and call witnesses of his own.

“If you exclude Mr. Pinnock from having standing here, virtually all the participants are parties that have interests to protect,” he told Cullen.

The inquiry has already approved 17 applications for standing, including from the provincial lottery corporation, B.C. Ministry of Finance, the federal government, Canadian Gaming Association and the Law Society of B.C. Cullen said Friday that the B.C. Real Estate Association has now also been approved.

The hearing did not delve into specific evidence, but Cullen summarized Pinnock’s allegations in a ruling last month ordering the hearing.

Pinnock alleges that during the time he led the gaming team the public was being “misled” about the degree of criminal activity in casinos in B.C.

Between 2006 and 2019, he made a number of public statements that reflected his concerns that casinos were “havens for organized criminal activity,” the ruling says.

“He further emphasized that this criminal activity could not have achieved the levels it had without government and law enforcement agencies engaging in wilful blindness and worse,” it says.

“Mr. Pinnock is concerned that the acts or omissions of individuals he and his colleagues observed allowed criminal organizations to flourish in B.C. and beyond, contributing to the opioid crisis and untold numbers of overdose deaths in recent years.”

The B.C. government called the inquiry in May following three independent reviews, including two by Peter German, an ex-deputy commissioner of the RCMP, who wrote a report about money laundering in B.C. It concluded crime groups were funnelling billions of dollars through real estate, luxury cars and other parts of the economy.

READ MORE: RCMP has ‘no’ dedicated money laundering investigators in B.C.

The commission will hold a series of public meetings starting in Vancouver on Wednesday. A final report is due by May 2021.

Laura Kane, 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

Nine new COVID-19 cases announced in Interior Health region

The total number of cases since the pandemic started is now at 531 for the region

Kaslo councillor admits to ‘baiting’ member of public in email exchange

Kaslo Village Council to consider adopting code of conduct

Nicole Charlwood to run for Green Party

Charlwood was previously the Greens local campaign manager

Tanya Finley named Liberal candidate for Nelson-Creston

Finley is president of the Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce

Terry Tiessen to run as Libertarian candidate in Nelson-Creston

Tiessen previously ran in the 2019 federal election

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

Lightning strike: Tampa Bay blanks Dallas 2-0 to win Stanley Cup

Hedman wins Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP

Liberals seek to fast track new COVID-19 aid bill after CERB expires

Government secured NDP support for legislation by hiking amount of benefits by $100 to $500 per week

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. VOTES 2020: Echoes of HST in B.C. debate over sales tax

Cannabis, tobacco, luxury cars still taxed in B.C. Liberal plan

She warned her son about toxic drugs, then he was dead

Donna Bridgman’s son died at the age of 38 in Vancouver

B.C. food and beverage producers set record sales in 2019

Farmed salmon again leads international exports

Most Read