A casino employee surveys bundles of $20 bills in a photograph released by the B.C. attorney general's office as an illustration of money laundering. (B.C. attorney general)

Huge money-laundering operation in British Columbia alleged

The Attorney-General in the west coast province of British Columbia is expressing surprise and deep concern about reports indicating the province is the scene for astronomical amounts of money laundering.

Last year a special report called “Dirty Money” commissioned by the B.C.government, indicated money laundering at provincial casinos was around $100-million.

However a recent international report put the figure at about $1-billion dollars annually, while a second Royal Canadian Mounted Police report indicated that some $1 billion in property transactions were connected with proceeds of crime.

B.C. Attorney-General David Eby (shown April 2018) is surprised and frustrated to learn money laundering may be in the billion dollar range in his province. (Chad Hipolito-CP)

Last July, the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force, a G-7 body fighting international money-laundering, terrorist financing and other financial threats highlighted among other things, an underground banking network.

Cited by the Canadian Press, the report indicated that ““One portion of the money laundering network’s illegal activities was the use of drug money, illegal gambling money and money derived from extortion to supply cash to Chinese gamblers in Canada.”  It added that some of the laundering included luxury real estate purchases.

B.C Attorney-General David Eby said he was frustrated that he was learning about the situation from the media and not from the federal government and its agencies like the R.C.M.P.

The government had been tracking large cash transactions at cosinos and estimated that suspicious transactions reached a high of $176 million in 2014-15.  In 2015, casinos started placing limits on cash transactions and it’s said to have reduced suspicious activity considerably.

Blunder ruins investigation

The huge R.C.M.P. investigation into underground banking and money laundering associated with this situation collapsed this month due to a critical mistake by the Crown prosecutors and police who revealed the identity of an informant.

It was feared the informant would be killed if the case continued.

The police were investigating Silver International, Richmond, B.C, business and Caixuan Qin and  Jian Jun Zhu, the couple running the business but suddenly dropped the case when the blunder was discovered.

Allegations are that crime proceeds were laundered in part at casinos, as well as in luxury home transactions.(CBC)

In a related case, a B.C. man is accused in a civil case of using laundered drug money to buy luxury houses in the province. Hoy Pang Chan has not responded to the charges which have not been proven in court.

Analysis of his tax returns who claims of income around $37,000, but police analysis of documents found at Silver International showed transactions in the millions of dollars during a period of only a few months in 2015.

Ontario is now also investigating links to Chinese organised crime suspects and a B.C. casino, after the casino parent company was awarded contracts in Ontario.

Additional information-sources

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