British Columbia has had its fair share of controversy over the past nearly a year, thanks to the money-laundering scandal directly related to casino operation and the real estate field. In a recent statement, Attorney-General David Eby once again pointed out that the region is incapable of tackling the serious issues at the moment and the only logical move is for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Ottawa lawmakers to guarantee the province will be able to launch an extensive crackdown.
At this point, it is not a secret to anyone that British Columbia has had its issues with money-laundering, unearthed back in 2018. The last months of the year, however, brought an unexpected for many individuals turn of events, as a couple of the E-Pirate probe linked to criminals conducting such illegal activity came to a halt.
Attorney-General Eby was one of the officials most disappointed by this negative outcome of the situation, claiming that the staying comes as a result of the province’s inability to utilize better tools for battling financial crime. Furthermore, allegedly the identity of a secret police informant was revealed in the evidence disclosure process, which eventually led to the probe halt.
Money-Laundering Business Washed CA$220 Million
For years cash has been laundered at casino venues in the Vancouver area, which does not align with the established image of a money-laundering scheme typically involving an offshore location. This week saw Mr. Eby making yet another statement on the subject, claiming that taking into account the recent happenings and the inadequate manner in which the matter was handled by the authorities, he finds it hard to believe that federal agencies have what it takes to effectively battle the issue.
It was recently revealed that nearly CA$220 million was laundered with the help of the criminal scheme in the region of Richmond. Nevertheless, the case was stayed without any proper explanation given by the agencies taking care of it. This failure stems from the fact that the local authorities simply lack the needed tools to take proper care of the situation, as it was pointed out by Mr. Eby.
He has been one of the actively involved officials who was also vocal about the unexpected halt at the beginning of December. The case never made it to court, as they were halted weeks before a several-month legal battle was scheduled to commence. Changes could come with the help of larger funding of both investigations and subsequent actions across the province. Ottawa is expected to give the issue a serious contemplation, something that was indicated recently.
Authorities Are After Personal Assets of the Criminals
Federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and Bill Blair, Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction have already demonstrated their involvement in the case in the weeks following the stay. This gives Mr. Eby the hopes that improvement is on the way, especially now that civil forfeiture is being implemented. The last days of 2018 saw the announcement that British Columbia’s Civil Forfeiture Office is now after some of the personal assets of the criminal couple of alleged kingpins behind the money-laundering scheme.
The two-story home of Caixuan Qin and Jain Jun Zhu located in Vancouver, CA$2 million seized by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 2015, in addition to River Rock Casino chips amounting to some CA$17,800 are among the assets which could be obtained by the agency. Silver International apparently gave its kingpins access to amounts of cash in China, Mexico City, and Bogota, according to Melvin Chizawsky, Corporal with the RCMP’s Federal Serious Organized Crime division.
Attorney-General stated that civil forfeiture approach might be a positive one, even though it does not reach the very core of the issue. In previous statements, he had pointed out the inefficiency of systems such as the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada which collects information about larger transactions and funds generated but does not give green light to probes or direct collaboration with the police.