British Columbia Lottery Corporation CEO ‘was in conflict of interest’

By Emma Rumney
The former head of the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) was in a conflict of interest after leaving the BCLC to work for a company affiliated with Paragon Gaming, a private casino operator, a review has found.

In a move widely opposed by residents, the State of Vancouver approved plans on behalf of Paragon to build a $535m casino complex in Vancouver two months before Michael Graydon began working as president of PV Hospitality. It is alleged the final two months Graydon served at the BCLC were spent negotiating his new role with Paragon, prompting an internal government audit.

While the audit found that Graydon didn’t take any action that would have benefitted his new employer while still in his role at the BLCC, the lottery corporation and all other Crown agencies in the Canadian province of BC are looking to tighten up their codes of conduct as a result.

A statement released by Finance Minister Mike de Jong on Thursday said: “The review found the former CEO was in a conflict of interest during the two months prior to the time he left the BCLA, but found no evidence that he or his new employer benefitted from the conflict.”

The review also found that the BCLA failed to terminate Graydon’s access to corporate information systems, including his email accounts, until 10 days after his departure in a violation of company policy.

BCLC will now implement new post-employment restrictions for CEOs and senior executives that will bar employment with private gaming companies in BC for one year, and other Crown corporations have been directed to develop similar standards.

In response to the report, Graydon issued a statement: “I have carefully read the report from the Ministry and although the result is inconsistent with the legal advice I sought prior to negotiating with my current employer, I accept and support the recommendations made.

“While the auditors found no evidence of my current employer receiving preferential treatment, and no evidence of any confidential information disclosed, I understand that a perception of potential conflict of interest was created and for this I apologise.

“I wish to assure the public and the government that I have neither sought nor received any benefit from the process of changing positions.”

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