BC Drug Money Laundering Network Had Links to Las Vegas Casinos, Commission Hears
Posted on: March 2, 2021, 08:22h.
Last updated on: March 2, 2021, 11:51h.
A man suspected by British Columbia authorities of being at the center of an international drug smuggling and money laundering ring held VIP accounts at casinos in Las Vegas, as well as Macau and the Canadian province.
That’s according to new details revealed Monday during the latest hearing of the Cullen Commission, which is examining the extent of BC’s money laundering problem. And according to RCMP Cpl. Melvin Chizawsky, BC’s money laundering problem might be Nevada’s problem, too.
Paul King Jin was identified in 2015 by a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) investigation as an alleged organized crime figure with links to Silver International, an underground bank posing as a currency exchange business in Richmond, BC.
Chizaswky informed the inquiry that Jin told police in a 2016 interview that he held gambling credit accounts with unnamed Las Vegas and Macau casinos, which he used to facilitate gambling trips for Chinese nationals.
Vancouver Money Laundering Model
Authorities believe Silver International washed around $250 million a year through British Columbia’s casino sector and property markets. He was using a method of money laundering that was so rife in BC casinos that it came to be known by the international intelligence community as “the Vancouver Model.”
This involved the receipt of cash from a network of drug cartels who would be repaid via equivalent transactions into a maze of Chinese bank accounts. The dirty cash was then lent to high rollers on gambling trips from China, allowing them to dodge strict controls on the movement of cash out of their homeland.
The cash would then be gratefully accepted by BC casinos and converted into chips, often in violation of anti-money laundering laws, which require operators to report suspicious transactions to financial regulators.
The chips could then be cashed out by the high rollers who had paid Silver up front via bank transactions in China.
Despite being banned from some local casinos for loan sharking, Jin was observed by detectives making numerous clandestine cash drops for high rollers in and around the casinos.
Targeted for Assassination
The prosecution of Silver International collapsed in 2018 after a judge ruled that continuing with the case would place a secret police informant “at risk of death.” That’s because prosecutors had accidentally released the informant’s name during a standard evidence disclosure to the defendants’ lawyer.
Later, Jin and Silver International boss Jian Jun Zhu were gunned down as they sat in a Japanese restaurant in Richmond. Jin sustained only minor injuries during the attack, but Jian died at the scene.
Jin also operated an illegal casino in his mansion, which was the city’s second-most expensive property in 2019, valued at $10 million.
Jin is still under investigation by BC authorities, who continue to build a case against the Chinese-born Canadian citizen.
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