Christy Clark denies there were substantial delays in acting to investigate money laundering

Christy Clark takes the stand

Former BC Liberal premier Christy Clark has begun her testimony at the Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in B.C.

Clark was premier from 2011 to 2017, a time, the public inquiry has heard, that saw a significant rise in large and suspicious casino transactions allegedly linked to transnational organized crime. Clark also oversaw an era of skyrocketing housing prices unique to Metro Vancouver – another matter the provincial inquiry is looking into.

Commissioner Austin Cullen runs the inquiry and commission counsel Patrick McGowan is conducting the examination of Clark, who is speaking with her lawyer present.

Clark has been explaining that she had a limited role as premier in overseeing the day-to-day operations of Crown corporations, such as the BC. Lottery Corp. (BCLC), which was responsible for managing casinos.

At issue is whether Clark and her government, between 2011 and 2017, wilfully ignored money laundering concerns in order to augment provincial revenue from BCLC.

During her time as premier, cash buy-in maximums went from about $5,000 to $100,000 by the time she left office in June 2017. But Clark said she wasn’t aware of this.

“I don’t gamble so I don’t know what’s normal in a casino,” she said.

Asked by McGowan what steps she took to address money laundering concerns cited in media back in 2011, Clark responded by saying a money laundering report (the ‘Kroeker Report’) was commissioned before her designation as premier in 2011 and landed on the gambling minister’s desk shortly thereafter.

She said a joint task force was created in “short order” however McGowan pointed out that RCMP unit was created only in 2015.

“When you’re involving the RCMP … it took a little bit of time to put all that together,” Clark replied. "I wouldn't accept the assumption it was delayed.”

She said she took no specific steps to discover whether media reports of money laundering in government-regulated casinos were accurate.

At times Clark cited some specific measures government took between 2011 and 2015, such as digital gambling accounts, but at other times she said she wasn’t aware of specifics, such as cash sourcing, patron bans and bet limits.

Clark said she was unaware of organizational friction between Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch and BCLC.

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