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

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

Collision at the Haisla/Kuldo Blvds. intersection Tuesday (Jan. 26). (Clare Rayment/Kitimat Northern Sentinel)
Collision at Haisla and Kuldo Boulevards

Five people taken to hospital with minor injuries

Angie Mindus photo
Clare’s Corner: A place for everything — and I mean everything

It’s amazing to see how much ‘stuff’ one can accumulate in their house over several months

(Jacqueline Sweet photo)
Jacqueline Sweet, right, at her graduation from the Bachelor of Arts at Simon Fraser University with her friend and fellow graduate, Laura Taylor.
In Our Valley: Jacqueline Sweet

Sweet said her career can feel isolating in the North, but she loves that she’s able to help people

(Cara Webb photo)
Cara Webb’s dog, Millie, who bolted during New Year’s Eve fireworks and was missing for almost a week. She was eventually found by Webb’s neighbour.
Good News, Kitimat!

Bringing some local good news to your week

Kitimat’s Gordon Wilson, who recently won $150,000 on a scratch & win ticket he bought at City Centre Mall. (BCLC photo)
Kitimat man wins $150,000 on scratch & win ticket

Gordon Wilson bought the ticket at City Centre Mall

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
Modelling of predicted transmission growth from the B117 COVID-19 variant in British Columbia. (Simon Fraser University)
COVID-19 variant predicted to cause ‘unmanageable’ case spike in B.C: report

SFU researchers predict a doubling of COVID-19 cases every two weeks if the variant spreads

The Brucejack mine is 65 km north of Stewart in northwestern B.C. (Pretivm Photo)
B.C. mine executives see bright gleam in post-COVID future

Low carbon drives demand for copper, steelmaking coal

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
Canadians divided over Keystone pipeline, despite U.S. president’s permit pullback

Two-thirds of Canadians think Biden’s decision was a “bad thing” for Alberta

Most Read