Casino operator aims to block release of documents
The corporation that operates River Rock Casino in Richmond has filed a last-minute court action seeking to block the release to Postmedia News of government documents concerning allegations of money laundering in B.C. casinos.
The documents were scheduled to be disclosed to Postmedia on Tuesday under B.C.’s freedom of information laws. However, a petition filed by Great Canadian Gaming Corp. on Nov. 9 in B.C. Supreme Court asks a judge to bar any further document disclosures related to Postmedia’s freedom of information request until a complaint filed by Great Canadian to B.C.’s Office of Information and Privacy is investigated.
Great Canadian claims it wasn’t given proper notice by the provincial government or the chance to argue against the release of information that it claims is confidential to its business operations. The petition also asks a judge to reverse a previous decision by the Privacy Commissioner, in which the commissioner allegedly refused to order B.C.’s Ministry of the Attorney General to halt scheduled document releases to Postmedia.
Great Canadian’s petition was scheduled to be heard in court on Tuesday. The petition relates to information requests made by Postmedia in May 2017 for B.C. Gaming Policy Enforcement Branch and third-party documents regarding gambling, crime and money laundering concerns in B.C.
Postmedia has already published a number of reports based on the first phase of documents released by the gaming enforcement branch in early October.
Great Canadian’s petition claims that those documents already released to Postmedia — and also information contained in an audit completed by MNP and independently released by Attorney General David Eby in September — contain details of the company’s confidential business operations.
“GCGC will suffer irreparable harm if the phase two disclosure is released without (the company) being provided with an opportunity to make the representation it is statutorily entitled to make,” the petition states. “Once phase two disclosure is released to the public, the disclosure of information harmful to GCGC’s business interests cannot be undone.”
“Our interest in filing the suit is simply in ensuring that the FOI legislation is appropriately followed before information is released publicly ... the initial FOI package contained confidential information regarding GCGC and its business operations,” Great Canadian spokeswoman Sonja Mandic said in an email Tuesday.