British Columbia prosecutors will not bring charges against an alleged international gangster suspected of washing millions through the province’s casinos, despite a six-year investigation into his activities.
Special prosecutor Christopher Considine, KC said Wednesday that ambiguities in Canada’s federal Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCTFA) meant that a prosecution “would be likely to founder.” He added, regrettably, that an “expensive and lengthy prosecution that comes to naught” would not be in the public interest.
Considine referred to the individual only as “X.”
Casino.org believes “X” to be Paul King Jin, who is the subject of several civil forfeiture lawsuits filed by the provincial government.
In September 2020, Jin survived an assassination attempt when a gunman opened fire on him and an associate as they dined at a Vancouver restaurant. The associate, Jian Jun Zhu, was not so lucky.
Jian died in the hospital a day later. He was alleged by prosecutors to be the head of Silver International, an underground bank linked to the international drug trade.
His operation may have washed as much as $250 million a year through casinos and was a prime example of what came to be known to the international intelligence community as the “Vancouver Model” of money laundering.
Jian and his wife Caixuan Qin were prosecuted in 2018 in what was billed as Canada’s biggest money laundering case. But it collapsed when prosecutors accidentally released the name of a key government informant to the defense counsel during a routine evidence disclosure.
The judge determined that continuing with the trial would put the witness “at risk of death.”
Investigators were led to Silver International’s door by Jin himself when they began surveilling him in 2015. The suspect was observed travelling between Silver’s offices and “various locations” with “suitcases, boxes, and bags containing large amounts of cash,” according to one civil forfeiture lawsuit.
“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,” it claims. “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.”
Jin moved around $2.4 million between February 2017 and May 2017 alone, according to investigators.
Burden of Proof
Considine said the problem with PCTFA is that it requires prosecutors to prove that cash being laundered has a criminal origin, not simply that it is being handled by an unlicensed business.
“The critical question is whether the Crown would be able to demonstrate that this cash was itself the proceeds of crime,” he said.
A judge or jury would need to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the cash X was moving was ‘obtained by or derived directly or indirectly from’ the commission of an indictable offence … and ‘was obtained or derived directly or indirectly as a result of’ the commission of a designated offence,” he added.
Considine recommended that the federal government amend the law to explicitly criminalize unlicensed money services.
Toothless AML Laws
Canada has some of the weakest anti-money laundering laws in the developed world and an abysmal success rate for prosecutions. Some 86 percent of all money laundering charges between 2012 and 2017 were thrown out before trial, according to Statistics Canada’s Integrated Criminal Court Survey.
In 2019, the US State Department described Canada as a major global money laundering “problem,” alongside Afghanistan, Macau, and Colombia.
A 2020 report by the British-based Tax Justice Network noted that, “Canada’s weaker anti-money-laundering laws provide criminals with the anonymity to not get caught and likely not be prosecuted if they are caught.”
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