FORMER Solicitor General Rich Coleman on Wednesday said in a statement that the the Cullen Commission’s conclusions prove that allegations that the BC Liberals were ignoring money laundering, or were corrupt, were politically-motivated oversimplifications that ignored the work the government was doing to address casino management.
“The taxpayers of BC have spent tens of millions of dollars over the past three years for this inquiry, and the conclusion is that we were all doing our jobs, and doing them as well as we could in difficult circumstances,” Coleman said. “As the NDP is learning, government is complicated, and the information received by ministers can often conflict with each other. But slinging mud at the professionals and public servants doing their best on behalf of the people of BC is not in anyone’s interest.”
Coleman hopes the public will now know the truth: that the people responsible for BC casinos did their best to identify and stop a handful of bad actors, and actually had relatively positive outcomes while managing very challenging situations. As Cullen laid out in his report: “[No elected officials] knowingly encouraged, facilitated, or permitted money laundering to occur in order to obtain personal benefit or advantage, be it financial, political, or otherwise… after a thorough inquiry, I found no evidence of corruption.”
“The word corruption has been tossed around irresponsibly by media and politicians for several years, but the Commissioner has found that to be utterly false,” said Coleman. “While hindsight is 20/20 and there is always more that could have been done, the idea that we were somehow purposefully ignoring or somehow aiding money laundering has been proven to be incorrect.”
In his final report, Cullen noted that Coleman received different advice from different branches of the public service, and that Coleman did the right thing by engaging an independent expert, Robert Kroeker, to review the differing information he was given.
“The Commissioner has reinforced clearly that this decision was, as he wrote, ‘prudent and appropriate’,” said Coleman. “The Commission’s toughest criticism was for federal law enforcement and specifically FINTRAC, concerns I share.”