Quebec orders independent audit of casino-mafia allegations

Quebec’s gambling monopoly says it will fully cooperate with the provincial government’s plans to audit its casino operations for signs of improper dealings with local mafia figures.

On Monday, Quebec Finance Minister Eric Girard (pictured) announced plans to conduct an independent audit into allegations of money laundering and other dodgy dealings at the four land-based casinos operated by the province’s Loto-Quebec gambling monopoly.

The allegations were made last week in a series of print and broadcast media reports focusing on perks doled out to the likes of Stefano Sollecito, a reputed organized crime figure who somehow gambled millions at Casino de Montreal despite declaring an annual income of only around C$50k to tax authorities.

Loto-Quebec responded to those media reports by insisting that it “complies with all regulatory requirements” but the provincial government evidently felt enough heat that only a public display of curiosity would temper. In addition to money laundering, the audit will also examine the casino loyalty programs that offered luxury perks to controversial figures who were willing to gamble large sums.