Commissioner Austin Cullen, back centre, listens to introductions before opening statements at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, in Vancouver, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020. A former British Columbia gaming policy official says the concerns about increasing amounts of suspicious cash and its possible links to money laundering at casinos started rising as the province was preparing to host the 2010 Winter Olympics. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Whistleblower to be cross-examined at B.C. money-laundering hearings

A former Mountie will answer questions from Kash Heed's lawyers Tuesday

  • Nov. 17, 2020 12:00 a.m.

Secret recordings made by a former RCMP officer of an ex-provincial cabinet minister won’t be made public until after a hearing scheduled for Tuesday before the Cullen Commission into money laundering in B.C. casinos.

On Nov. 5 and 6, Fred Pinnock testified to the commission about his efforts to investigate crime in casinos when he headed up the Illegal Gaming Enforcement Team from 2005 to 2008.

Pinnock testified that in 2009 he met then-solicitor general Kash Heed, and that Heed had confirmed Pinnock’s fears that money laundering was not being taken seriously, including by then-Fort Langley-Aldergrove MLA Rich Coleman, who was the cabinet minister in charge of gaming for many years.

Commissioner Austin Cullen, who is overseeing the inquiry, summarized the issue in a Nov. 12 ruling:

“Mr. Pinnock testified that during the meeting Mr. Heed told him that he (Mr. Pinnock) was right about the police failures to take steps against money laundering, saying ‘it’s all about the money’ and that he (Mr. Heed) named Mr. (Rich) Coleman as being ‘largely responsible for this along with senior Mounties who were complicit.’ Mr. Pinnock testified he said to Mr. Heed that he (Pinnock) was sure Mr. Coleman was aware of what was going on inside the casinos and Mr. Heed ‘confirmed [he] was accurate in [his] belief and he did feel that [Mr.] Coleman had created this and it received the sort of tacit support of senior Mounties in this province.'”

Then Pinnock testified that in 2018 he surreptitiously recorded two conversations with Heed on similar topics, one over the phone, one in person.

The transcripts of those recordings were to have become part of the Cullen Commission’s evidence, but there has been a delay as Heed has sought to have his lawyers intervene in the hearings.

Cullen has ruled that Heed’s lawyers will be allowed to cross-examine Pinnock about the discussions with Heed, before the transcripts are to be entered as evidence.

The additional cross-examination was scheduled to take place on Tuesday, Nov. 17, starting at 2:30 p.m.

Langley Advance Times