Casino op­er­a­tor aims to block re­lease of doc­u­ments

The Province - - NEWS - SAM COOPER scooper@post­media.com

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.

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