Drug money washed through Canadian wringer


A large police operation conducted last week in the Canadian state of British Columbia (B.C.), uncovered an alleged money laundering and underground banking network connected to Macau VIP high rollers, Canadian newspaper Vancouver Sun reported yesterday.
The police operation was conducted in co-operation with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police federal organised crime unit and China’s national police service and led to 10 police raids in the B.C. city of Richmond.
The investigation – codenamed E-Pirate – focused on local money transfer business Silver International Investment, Asian organised crime groups and an alleged C$500 million-plus (MOP3.22 billion) international money laundering service operated in the city, with the main suspect local Richmond spa owner Paul King Jin.
The report indicates Mr. Jin allegedly recruited VIP gamblers in Macau to gamble in B.C. These people were able to gamble in the state’s casinos and even invest in real estate by borrowing drug money from Jin and his associates and using it to buy casino chips.
The VIP gamblers were allowed to repay the loans in Mainland China in order to avoid Chinese capital flow controls, with investigators suspecting the players could have cashed in the casino chips in order to invest in luxury real estate in B.C.
The investigation also alleges that Mr. Jin’s company could even wire funds to Mexico and Peru, allowing drug dealers to buy narcotics without carrying cash outside Canada, and cover up the international money transfers with fake trade invoices from China.
The money would then be deposited in an underground bank in China, which would lend it to the VIP gamblers to initiate the money laundering process.
According to investigators Silver International set up more than 600 bank accounts in Mainland China, having sent over C$300 million offshore, laundering C$220 million in cash in B.C. and allowing more than 36 gamblers to receive cash to buy chips in B.C. casinos.
Canadian police surveillance identified 40 different organisations linked to Asian organised groups dealing in cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines were delivering ‘suitcases laden with cash’ to Silver International at an alleged average rate of C$1.5 million a day.