Cullen: Whistleblower threw away evidence, lied, commission hears

Cullen: Whistleblower threw away evidence, lied, commission hears

He was proud of what he did even though it meant breaking the law — he was “shining a light on a dark issue.”

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Former head of anti-money-laundering programs and whistleblower Ross Alderson was savaged in cross-examination Friday by lawyers for gaming firms and executives he impugned.


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The man, whose accusations about dirty money and leaks to the media sparked an outcry that helped launch the inquiry into money laundering, was defensive and dissembled trying to explain his own acknowledged misconduct.

In an online appearance from Australia, Alderson testified he made an anonymous complaint in 2019 against former B.C. Lottery Corp. executive Robert Kroeker — a complaint found to be unsubstantiated.

“That’s a technical term,” the former Australian cop snapped. “There was no one there to corroborate what I said, so it was unfounded.”

The two witnesses Alderson said heard the comment denied his account that Kroeker suggested “easing up” on imposing anti-money-laundering measures to improve revenue.


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Would they lie?

“Yes,” he responded.


“Each has something to lose and that would be their jobs,” Alderson claimed.

He was strident: “The comments were totally inappropriate.”

When pressed for details such as the date of the meeting in 2017, he responded: “I don’t recall, I don’t remember.”

He said his notebook would have specifics but it was pointed out that he got rid of it.

“I didn’t want to have anything in my possession from BCLC so I threw it out,” he explained. “I came upon it in the office in my house in Richmond. I don’t recall seeing it, I didn’t go through it, I threw it out.”

He later lied about the notebook to the investigator of his complaint: “That interview was two years ago … I’m taking your word for it that (the investigator’s report) is accurate … I don’t know what I said or didn’t say. I don’t recall much of that interview but that’s probably what was said.”


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Still, even Alderson agreed the comment would have been out of character for Kroeker before putting down his former mentor, again: “He made comments that money laundering was inevitable and it was far more effective to collect it through casinos. I don’t know if it was in jest. But he said it on more than one occasion. I thought those comments were totally inappropriate.”

Alderson believed the former RCMP officer turned gaming executive helped disparage him after he resigned in 2017 and was partly responsible for a letter he received from BCLC after an appearance on a TV news program.

“It alleged everything I said was all lies. That I was dishonest … I was so disappointed at the letter … I was very angry after that … That was the primary reason I did it. This is not an allegation made out of spite … I never had a beef with BCLC … They tried to make me the bad guy and it upset me greatly, it is still the most unsettling letter I have ever received. It was quite disgusting frankly and Mr. Kroeker was part of that.”


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Confronted with documents he wrote, Alderson grudgingly said BCLC was on the right anti-money-laundering track and the casinos were addressing the flood of cash that inundated them from roughly 2010 until it began to recede in 2015.

“There were two views: There is my private view that I always suspected the cash was dirty … When I became director (of anti-money-laundering in early 2015) … the information I received … (was) that it came from underground banking, but I wasn’t of that view personally.”

There was no established link between organized crime and money in casinos until summer 2015 and it was “a pivotal moment,” he said.

In Alderson’s opinion, law enforcement and the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch hadn’t done their jobs and their failure was exacerbated by government indifference to criminal activity.

Asked why he never made accusations against anyone except Kroeker, he replied: “I’m hardly going to go to (enforcement branch) investigators and tell them they’re a bunch of idiots. The casino industry needed a watchdog and they got a lapdog.”

He was proud of what he did even though it perhaps meant breaking the law — he was “shining a light on a dark issue.”

The hearings continue online and the two-year-old commission’s final report is due by Dec. 15.



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