$3.2-million West Vancouver home added to list of assets in money-laundering forfeiture case
The B.C. Civil Forfeiture Office has added a West Vancouver home to a list of assets it wants to seize from a Richmond man who was a key target of an RCMP investigation into the biggest money laundering case in B.C. history.
The addition of the mortgaged Chelsea Court home – valued at $3.24 million, according to B.C. Assessment – potentially pushes the total in cash and assets the civil forfeiture office is seeking to more than $8 million.
Named in the civil forfeiture suit filed this spring in B.C. Supreme Court are Paul King Jin, his wife Xiaoqi Wei, and several others, including Jin’s niece, Yuanyuan Jia.
The forfeiture office had already filed a claim for $4.86 million in cash; a mortgaged Richmond condo on Jones Road valued at $764,000; a 2011 Porsche 911; $45,000 in chips from the River Rock and Edgewater casinos; and various other items including computers, cellphones, gambling equipment and jewelry.
The amended civil forfeiture suit alleges that Jia owned both homes on Jin’s behalf.
The civil forfeiture office claims the cash and assets as proceeds of crime and alleges the homes were used to launder money, according to court filings.
None of the defendants have responded to the civil suit and the lawsuit contains allegations that have not been proven in court.
The addition of the West Vancouver home followed the property being named as owned by Jia in a Postmedia investigation published in April that found 20 Lower Mainland properties valued at more than $43 million were linked to those accused in the RCMP’s E-Pirate investigation and related police probes.
E-Pirate is considered B.C.’s largest money laundering investigation and uncovered an underground bank in Richmond, Silver International, that allegedly laundered as much as $220 million a year, and possibly as much as $1 billion. Police allege clients of the bank included local drug traffickers, high-roller Chinese gamblers and members of Mexican drug cartels, according to court documents.
B.C. Land Title documents show that Jia bought the Chelsea Court property, a 5,700-square foot, six-bedroom home, for $3.45 million on Oct. 3, 2016. A Bank of Nova Scotia mortgage was registered in Jia’s name on the same date, although the land title documents do not list an amount for the mortgage.
In court filings, the forfeiture office stated: “Mr. Jin is the beneficial or true owner of the Chelsea Court Property. Ms. Jia acted as a nominee owner or owner of convenience on behalf of Mr. Jin with respect to the Chelsea Court property.”
Jin, already named as a key suspect in the RCMP’s E-Pirate money laundering probe, was arrested on Feb. 24, 2016 for possession of proceeds of crime, money laundering, and running illegal gambling operations, but was not charged, according to court documents.
The threshold for proving a civil claim is lower than for a criminal conviction, a balance of probabilities rather than beyond a reasonable doubt.
This week, the Bank of Nova Scotia filed a response to the civil forfeiture claim saying it opposes the claim, to the extent that it has priority over the bank’s mortgage on the Chelsea Court property.