02 Mar 2021
B.C.’s inquiry into money laundering has heard stunning evidence about connections between B.C. government casinos, casinos in Macau and Las Vegas, and international drug traffickers and loan sharks moving money between Vancouver, Latin America and Asia via Chinese underground banks.
The Cullen Commission heard new details on Monday about the RCMP’s so-called E-Pirate investigation into suspected drug-money laundering in BC Lottery Corporation casinos involving an organized crime suspect named Paul King Jin.
Criminal charges against Jin and Silver International, a Richmond currency exchange business, were stayed in November 2018, RCMP Cpl. Melvin Chizawsky told the inquiry. But a related RCMP investigation called E-Nationalize and B.C. government civil forfeiture actions against Jin’s network and its so-called “Vancouver Model” money laundering continue, he said.
The E-Pirate probe alleged that Silver was operating as a drug trafficking organization by laundering cash for drug dealers in China, Latin America and Canada, an affidavit filed by Chizawsky said.
Jin and Silver would arrange for Chinese nationals to deposit funds to Chinese banks, and pay them Canadian cash which they used to gamble in B.C., he said.
Jin and Silver would also loan out cash in Richmond, which the RCMP alleges was deposited by drug traffickers who then directed Silver to transfer deposited funds to China or other countries.
According to Chizawsky, the E-Pirate probe found “cellphone data was reviewed that indicated (Silver) had access to ‘cash pools’ in numerous other locations, aside from China, including Mexico City and Bogota in Colombia.”
Up to 300 investigators were working on E-Pirate at “the height” of the investigation, Chizawsky said. And records and videos seized from Silver in 2015 indicated the unregistered currency exchange took in $220 million in cash that year and paid out $217 million in locations worldwide.
Most of Silver’s cash deposits were bundles of cash that appeared to be delivered in methods consistent with drug trafficking, he said.
The largest single deposit, according to RCMP evidence, was a $1.4-million cash delivery from a man targeted in a Vancouver police drug trafficking investigation.
One of Silver’s customers in 2015 was Richard Chiu, who was convicted in 2002 in Massachusetts for conspiracy to distribute and possess heroin, according to Chizawsky. Chiu, who was also investigated in homicide and drug trafficking probes in Vancouver, Chizawsky said, was killed in Colombia in June 2019.
By Sam Cooper, Global News, 1 March 2021
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