Great Canadian Gaming tried to tap Chinese capital fleeing Xi Jinping’s corruption probe, inquiry hears

Nice Canadian Gaming administration expanded its high-limit “VIP” playing enterprise in 2015 following a plan to extend income from Mainland Chinese language felony suspects fleeing Macau casinos and a corruption crackdown from Chinese language president Xi Jinping, B.C.’s inquiry into cash laundering heard Monday.

The Cullen Fee, which is remitted to find out if corruption enabled B.C casinos to launder cash, additionally heard that former Nice Canadian govt Walter Soo based mostly his VIP business-expansion case on the logic {that a} U.S. authorities anti-money laundering probe of Macau casinos would have Chinese language VIPs “diverting their play to River Rock On line casino.”

Fee lawyer Alison Latimer probed Nice Canadian performing CEO Terrance Doyle about quite a few examples from 2014 by 2017 during which administration pushed again on investigations of VIP gamblers who had been utilizing large money deliveries from an alleged organized crime mortgage shark named Paul King Jin.

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Doyle admitted to Latimer that Nice Canadian didn’t need the VIPs questioned about their supply of money as a result of it might put River Rock’s enterprise “in deep trouble.”

In a single case, Latimer mentioned, the corporate complained {that a} VIP named Li Lin Sha was banned by the BC Lottery Company after he had gone consuming with a River Rock VIP room supervisor named Lisa Gao, then returned to River Rock and sexually assaulted a Nice Canadian worker.

The inquiry heard that Sha — who claimed to be an actual property developer and coal miner in China — accomplished 450 massive money transactions and virtually 100 suspicious transactions from 2006 to 2017 in Lottery Corp. casinos.

He was one of many VIPs related by investigators to Jin’s River Rock money supply community in 2015, Latimer mentioned. And when the Lottery Corp. put money restrictions on him in September 2015, Doyle, former Nice Canadian CEO Rod Baker, Lottery Corp. govt Brad Desmarais, and Gao interviewed him to retain him as a buyer, the inquiry heard.

Sha admitted within the interview that he had about $3 million in River Rock on line casino chips at his residence, and that he obtained money to purchase chips on the on line casino by making calls to unidentified individuals in Macau, China and Hong Kong. And but, Nice Canadian Gaming continued to welcome his enterprise and efficiently obtained his intercourse assault-related ban decreased to a few months in 2017, Latimer mentioned.

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Doyle admitted that Nice Canadian advocated to scale back Sha’s River Rock ban.

The inquiry has beforehand heard that Gao had inappropriately shut enterprise relationships with VIPs together with Sha, and that she was de-registered in late 2017 for facilitating a $200,000 transaction that broke money-laundering guidelines.

Latimer requested Doyle if he was involved that together with Gao within the September 2015 interview with Sha may have uncovered “delicate” data to Sha’s community.

Doyle mentioned he wasn’t involved that Gao was concerned within the interview.

The inquiry additionally heard of an electronic mail that confirmed Doyle, Baker, and Nice Canadian supervisor Peter Goudron had been briefed by Nice Canadian compliance supervisor Robert Kroeker in February 2015 on the B.C. Ministry of Finance’s “mounting issues” that River Rock VIPs had been shopping for chips with unsourced money and financial institution drafts and distributing the chips to different gamblers.

The briefing passed off after a sequence of large money transactions in late 2014 at River Rock On line casino had been related by Lottery Corp. and Nice Canadian managers to Jin’s alleged mortgage sharking community, the inquiry heard.

However Doyle pushed again on Latimer’s suggestion that Kroeker’s February 2015 briefing alerted Nice Canadian administration to “systemic” money-laundering issues.

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“You had been conscious there was an enormous excellent chip legal responsibility” and of “mounting issues” in B.C.’s authorities, Latimer mentioned.

“I disagree,” Doyle responded.

Latimer learn one other sequence of emails to Doyle during which he and Nice Canadian supervisor Pat Ennis pushed again on money restrictions positioned on a feminine gambler who refused to reveal her supply of money to Lottery Corp. investigator Ross Alderson.

“I did inform (Alderson) she is at present betting $100,000 per hand, and (Alderson) ought to hold that in thoughts,” Ennis’ electronic mail mentioned.

“That is loopy,” Doyle’s electronic mail responded, in line with Latimer.

And in fall 2015, Doyle was one of many Nice Canadian managers who complained when Alderson and the Lottery Corp. banned 46 VIPs that had been related to Jin’s money supply community, Latimer mentioned.

Learn extra:
Former Nice Canadian Gaming managers admit firm pushed again on investigations of high-rollers

Doyle acknowledged he was upset that Nice Canadian was dropping “critical” enterprise resulting from interviews of Jin’s VIP gambler community on the River Rock.

The inquiry additionally heard from Walter Soo, the previous Nice Canadian govt, that the River Rock expanded its non-public high-limit baccarat desk enterprise in 2015 by including 10 tables to a room beforehand used for safety functions.

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The growth geared toward predominantly Mainland Chinese language VIPs adopted the on line casino’s highest ever 12 months of income in 2014, resulting from “ever-increasing higher-limit baccarat play since 2013,” in line with a confidential memo written by Soo in October 2014, the inquiry heard.

In that memo, Soo projected higher income for River Rock in 2015 due to Xi Jinping’s crackdown on corruption and the flight of capital from Mainland China into Macau casinos, the inquiry heard. Soo added that U.S. monetary authorities had been additionally cracking down on cash laundering and growing scrutiny of U.S. corporations with casinos in Macau, and he believed this could improve a flood of money from Mainland China into Vancouver.

A fee lawyer requested Soo if Nice Canadian was attempting to capitalize on income from monetary crime and money-laundering suspects, and if Soo believed that much less scrutiny of cash laundering made the River Rock extra enticing to the Chinese language VIPs.

“No,” Soo mentioned. “I used to be simply attempting to clarify what’s going on right here and why these persons are coming in right here … I can’t start to clarify how money was being scrutinized.”   

Soo added that he believed Nice Canadian and Vancouver extra broadly had been effectively positioned to capitalize on a flood of cash through guests and immigrants from Mainland China and Hong Kong, in addition to “geopolitical” occasions corresponding to China’s takeover of Hong Kong and mishandling of the SARS epidemic.

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“The Canadian authorities actually wished this cash from the Eighties, and the immigration legal guidelines had been actually lenient,” Soo mentioned. “Tright here was quite a lot of magic like that, that benefitted us.”

Doyle’s cross-examination continues Wednesday.

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