Authorities in British Columbia have launched a legal bid to seize a $25,000 bank draft made out to Great Canadian Casinos by suspected money launderer Paul King Jin, The Province reports.
BC’s Civil Forfeiture Office (FCO) argues the bank draft represented the proceeds of criminal activity, and that Jin’s crimes include money-laundering, conspiracy, keeping a common gaming house, extortion, and failure to declare taxable income.
Jin was the subject of the province’s largest money-laundering investigation, dubbed Operation E-Pirate, which uncovered an extensive underground banking network with links to international organized crime.
Authorities believe the network washed as much as $1 billion per year, much of it through the province’s casinos.
To date, no one involved has been successfully prosecuted as a result of Operation E-Pirate, although police have recommended charges against Jin resulting from a separate investigation. The prosecution service has yet to determine whether the case will go ahead.
Mr. Jin has been identified by BCLC (British Columbia Lottery Corp) as being involved in cash deliveries to high-stakes gamblers at casinos in the Lower Mainland,” the lawsuit alleges. “Between June 27, 2012 and June 24, 2015, there were 140 casino transactions totaling $23,501,456 and related to casino activity involving Mr. Jin and his associates.”
In October 2015, Jin was observed by police travelling between the offices of Richmond, BC-based company Silver International and “various locations” with “suitcases, boxes, and bags containing large amounts of cash,” the lawsuit alleges.
Authorities believe Silver was a front for the underground banking network. They claim the company would receive cash from drugs cartels and other criminal gangs, who were repaid via transactions into a network of 600 Chinese bank accounts.
The dirty money was then lent to high rollers on junket trips from Asia, who would use it to buy chips, sinking it into the casino economy.
Two of Silver’s operators, Caixuan Qin and her husband, Jian Jun Zhu, were charged. But the case was dropped when the name and details of a secret police informant were inadvertently released during a standard evidence disclosure to the defendants’ lawyer.
Prosecutors determined that to continue would place the informant at “high risk of death.”
Threats of Violence
The bank draft was uncovered when members of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFCFU), which tackles organized crime, seized Jin’s Mercedes in May 2015.
“Mr. Jin used the proceeds of the unlawful activity to provide money to participants in lawful and unlawful gambling activities,” says the CFO complaint. “Mr. Jin compelled these gamblers to execute promissory notes in favor of Mr. Jin and/or his wife as security for the money advanced for gambling.”
Some debtors told police Jin and his associates “were threatening physical violence or had perpetuated physical violence in order to collect,” it adds.
Jin has been the subject of previous civil forfeiture attempts by the BC government.