It has been hard to grasp just how deep and wide the rot has been.
Court cases have collapsed, news conferences cancelled, and political leaders stonewalled in multiple attempts to inform the public of the magnitude of British Columbia’s problem with illegal gambling.
Not that things haven’t been going on away from the public eye. For at least six years, someone who witnessed criminal behavior has been quietly co-operating with the RCMP and helping reporters ask the right questions.
In this week’s W5 investigation, he reveals his identity in public for the first time, hoping it will help all Canadians appreciate the scope of our country’s problem with organized crime and money laundering.
It’s a massive problem in Vancouver, but the city isn’t alone.
It is, at first, shocking to hear what is finally being brought to light. In the words of former RCMP Deputy Commissioner Peter German, who was hired by B.C.’s NDP government to probe the province’s private casinos, “The regulator wasn't regulating, the police weren't policing.”
Is it ever possible to know whether that was by design or willful ignorance? Calls are growing in B.C. for a full public inquiry into the billions of dirty dollars flowing across the Lower Mainland.
What our investigation also reveals for the first time, is how complex the RCMP case against an alleged illegal bank was. Dozens of officers working to build a legal case that might have set a precedent for how courts deal with evidence of money laundering, If only it hadn’t collapsed weeks before the trial was set to begin.
The Crown, according to W5 sources, inadvertently provided evidence to the defence which could have jeopardized a police informant. When that was revealed, Crown lawyers opted to stay the charges.
It took weeks for the RCMP to explain what had happened to B.C.’s Attorney General, David Eby, who was infuriated the country’s biggest money laundering investigation had gone nowhere.
It has never been fully appreciated how much money has been coming in from criminal organizations (from mostly drug sales), deposited in illegal banks which then provide gamblers the money to bet with, thereby "cleaning" the money.
But W5 has obtained surveillance video and accounting ledgers from one of those banks, and on any given day millions of dollars came in, and went out. They may be the images which finally convince lawmakers to look at why money laundering cases keep collapsing in Canada, and why no one is in jail for moving billions through our country.
Watch W5's documentary 'Laundromat' on Saturday at 7 p.m. on CTV
More on this story from CTVNews.ca