Commissioner Austin Cullen listens to introductions before opening statements at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, in Vancouver, on February 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Recorded conversations now evidence at B.C. money laundering inquiry

A former police officer recorded an ex-solicitor general of B.C.

  • Nov. 6, 2020 12:00 a.m.

Former Langley East MLA Rich Coleman said he’ll wait until he testifies next spring at the Cullen Commission to speak publicly about accusations and issues raised at the hearings.

On Thursday, Fred Pinnock, former head of the Integrated Illegal Gambling Enforcement Team, was critical of the way the province handled gambling-related crime and the police resources assigned to investigate it.

Coleman, a longtime prominent Liberal cabinet minister during the years Gordon Campbell was premier, oversaw gaming during parts of his time in office.

Pinnock testified that he believed public safety was not a priority for senior officials.

Pinnock headed the IIGET until the end of 2007, when he stepped down on medical leave. He retired a few months later and has not worked in policing since.

The IIGET was disbanded in 2009.

On Thursday, Pinnock told the commission that two then-cabinet ministers told him that Rich Coleman, who had been the minister of public safety and solicitor general at the time, was not interested in the issue of organized crime in casinos.

“I felt that it was a charade,” said Pinnock.

He also spoke about recording Kash Heed, who was B.C. solicitor general after Coleman, during two conversations in 2018. Pinnock said he recorded the conversations without Heed’s knowledge.

Transcripts of both conversations are to become evidence, after some redactions are made.

Coleman did not have any comment on Pinnock’s testimony Friday.

“I will be a witness to the commission in the spring,” Coleman said.

He did note that from what he’s heard, much of Pinnock’s testimony was “hearsay,” which is second-hand statements, not directly heard by the person testifying.

He said he would see if there were any “actionable statements” made about him as well.

“I’m confident we did a good job,” Coleman said of his time overseeing gaming in British Columbia.

The Cullen Commission, officially the Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, was created last year by the NDP-led provincial government to make findings of fact into the extent and methods of money laundering in B.C., and whether “acts or omissions of responsible regulatory agencies and individuals… have contributed to money laundering in the province or amount to corruption.”

The hearings are overseen by Commissioner Austin Cullen, a B.C. Supreme Court judge.

Langley Advance Times