Casinos are great if you’re looking for a night out and don’t mind losing a little bit of money in exchange for fun.
Some people don’t use them for that, though. They use them to launder money, hoping no one will notice in a place where money changes hands around the clock.
A former Canadian ambassador is being accused of being connected to money laundering through a casino.
John Peter Bell is alleged to have been on the receiving end of monthly cash payouts that were delivered by hand in Vancouver, after he apparently invested in a VIP casino room leased by Hong Kong tycoon, Stanley Ho.
Bell has served in many top government posts in his life, including as ambassador to Malaysia.
Bell says that he never invested in Ho’s casinos at all. He claims that he merely gave $250,000 US to his cousin, David Stuart Levy, as a loan. He says Levy was the real investor in the casino.
But, Bell's cousin says that isn’t the case, and that the money was definitely not a loan. “Bell became an equal member of a group of investors,” according to court documents filed by Levy.
Between 2000 and 2004 Levy says that he paid $150,000 US in cash to Bell, who he would travel to meet about 10 times a year in Vancouver.
The amounts varied based on how much the VIP casino room made, says Levy. Eventually Bell apparently became annoyed that he was being paid too infrequently and set up an overseas bank account in Hong Kong for Levy to make payments into.
The overseas bank account left a paper trail, opening the men to potential prosecution.
A CRA spokesperson says that, “income from illegal activities or illicit businesses – such as illegal gambling and fraudulent business schemes – are not exempt from tax and must be reported and/or disclosed by Canadian taxpayers.”
Source: Global News