Land-based and online casinos can sometimes become victims of illegal activities such as money laundering. To launder funds, obtain in an illicit way, some fraudsters deposit and withdraw the money through a gambling venue. However, as gambling operators adhere to regulations related to anti-money laundering, large transactions are often flagged and reported.
A man, allegedly involved in a multi-million-dollar money laundering operation is now reportedly on the run after being active for more than a decade. Over the last few years alone, Branavan Kanapathipillai is believed to have deposited and withdrawn more than CA$4 million ($2.9 million) around Toronto, Canada casinos.
The man caught the attention of the authorities after in November, a cash buy-in close to CA$100,000 ($73,500) at Niagara Falls was flagged and seized, a report released by CTV News reveals. Kanapathipillai was reportedly due to appear in court last week to claim the seized cash. However, he apparently had other plans and it is likely that he fled the country already. This means that the authorities may keep the seized money.
The Devil Is in the Details Concerns about Kanapathipilla’s source of funds continue to rise as he is believed to be involved in a large-scale money laundering scheme that involved a sum surpassing CA$11 million ($8.1 million) for the last 12 years. The man, who has a long history of fraud among other convictions, was allegedly a loan shark. It is likely that such activity helped Kanapathipillai accumulate large amounts of money which he then attempted to launder through different casinos. Still, it is important to mention that the man currently doesn’t face official criminal charges.
Garry Clement, a retired money laundering specialist with the RCMP claimed that the casinos need to take a proactive approach and keep individuals such as Kanapathipillai out. He explained: “These seem pretty obvious. There’s more to this than just gambling.”
What’s more, Det. Constable Vic Jetvic, wrote in an affidavit that records from the accounts belonging to Kanapathipillai showed that he used to deposit lots of money into his account and then withdraw them. Det. Jetvic wrote: “His withdrawal and financial transaction patterns were consistent with money laundering techniques that I have observed as an investigator.”
Casinos in Toronto made hundreds of suspicious transaction reports (STRs) over Kanapathipilla’s activities. The gambling regulator in the province, Ontario’s Alcohol and Gaming Commission, hinted this week that it will look into the matter and determine if the casino operators followed the regulatory framework.