British Columbia

Former B.C. minister allowed to cross-examine old friend at money-laundering inquiry

Former B.C. cabinet minister Kash Heed has been granted limited participant status at the public inquiry into money laundering so he can cross-examine a former RCMP officer.

Kash Heed will question former head of RCMP's disbanded gaming taskforce

Kash Heed, then B.C.'s minister of public safety, speaks during a news conference in Vancouver on July 23, 2009. The former head of the RCMP's disbanded illegal gaming taskforce says Heed told him that year that former gaming minister Rich Coleman knew B.C. had a money-laundering problem but was more concerned about revenue.

Former B.C. cabinet minister Kash Heed has been granted limited participant status at the public inquiry into money laundering so he can cross-examine a former RCMP officer.

Commissioner Austin Cullen says Heed has 90 minutes to question Fred Pinnock, who testified at the inquiry earlier that Heed told him B.C.'s gaming minister knew about organized crime at casinos.

Heed sought limited status to cross examine Pinnock, who said the former solicitor general told him in 2009 that the gaming minister at the time, Rich Coleman, was more interested in the generation of casino revenues than possible money laundering.

"[Heed] said to me, in effect, "That is what's going on, Fred, but I can't say that publicly. You know it's all about the money,'" Pinnock said during a hearing on Nov. 5.

Pinnock testified he was the head of the RCMP's now disbanded Integrated Illegal Gaming Enforcement Team when he first spoke with Heed, a former police chief in West Vancouver. Pinnock also said he and Heed were once longtime friends.

Rich Coleman, formerly B.C.'s minister responsible for gaming, pictured in 2014. The Cullen Commission has heard that Coleman's former colleague, Kash Heed, told an ex-RCMP officer that Coleman knew about money laundering in B.C. back in 2009. (CBC)

Pinnock also testified he recorded Heed years later as the former minister repeated his 2009 comments about Coleman's approach to gaming concerns.

The B.C. government launched the public inquiry after three reports outlined hundreds of millions of dollars in illegal cash affected the real estate, luxury vehicle and gaming sectors in the province.

With files from CBC News

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