William Claude Rains was an English character actor. One of his most famous roles was in the 1941 movie Casablanca where he played the French (Vichy) government chief of police Capt. Louis Renault. In a well known scene from the movie Renault is pressured into closing the Casablanca nightclub and gambling den “Rick’s Café Américain,” which he does on the pretext of illegal gambling. The scene includes the following dialogue delivered deadpan by Rains:
Captain Renault: “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here.”
Emile: “Your winnings, sir.”
Captain Renault: “Thank you very much.”
Since then Claude Rains’ name has been used to reference unconvincing denials of knowledge by individuals who, it would it hard to believe, were unaware of certain the facts they, for reasons of politics or convenience, pretend not to know.