Brits misled on casino deals -- report

Aug. 7, 2005 at 1:44 PM
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LONDON, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- Contrary to an earlier statement, British government officials have met with U.S. casino bosses to ease money laundering laws, a report says.

The British publication The Observer says that documents prove ministers from the Department for Culture Media and Sport met with casino bosses about issues for planned gaming halls. The documents also expose that the Department pressured the Treasury to ease a law requiring ID for all casino transactions over $1,245 (£700).

The law, aimed at hindering money launderers, was apparently a sticking point for the casino deals.

Last fall, Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell and Prime Minister Tony Blair dismissed charges that casinos were being given special concessions, and Jowell denied that the ID law had been discussed with casino bosses and that closed-door meetings had taken place.

But a May, 2004 briefing note reportedly shows that such discussions did in fact occur.

The casino debate has been fiery in Britain, with most MPs and a large segment of the public opposed to plans for construction of Las Vegas-style casinos across Britain.

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