Chinese Businessman at Center of Canadian Gambling Investigation Met Twice with PM Trudeau
Posted on: October 11, 2020, 10:25h.
Last updated on: October 13, 2020, 07:44h.
A Canadian police investigation into an illegal gambling and spa operation took an interesting turn this week. It was learned the main suspect in the investigation had previous meetings with Justin Trudeau, the country’s prime minister.
The National Post reported that Wei Wei met with Trudeau on at least on two occasions four years ago.
Last month, the York Regional Police in Ontario revealed details about an investigation called “Project End Game.” The nearly three-month investigation about illegal gambling dens netted three busts, including Wei’s mansion. Police arrested 32 people in the bust at the CDN $9 million (US $6.9 million) mansion in the Toronto suburb of Markham, including the 52-year-old businessman from China.
According to the Canadian publication, Wei arrived in Canada about a decade ago as part of the country’s investor-immigrant program. Since then, he’s been busy buying properties in and around the Toronto area.
Wei Met Trudeau at Photo-Op, Fundraiser
Wei’s also been involved in fostering better relations between the two countries. One of the events The Post details includes a photo-op the China Cultural Industry Association had with Trudeau. At the time, Wei served as the cochairman of the Canada China Chamber of Commerce Association.
The other event that year that included the Prime Minister was a Liberal Party fundraiser in May where more than 30 prominent Chinese-Canadian business leaders attended. That event at the time led to media reports saying Trudeau violated Canadian campaign ethics regulations, as well as the party’s doctrine, which has rules against attending fundraisers featuring those who have done business or wish to do business with the government.
The Post, though, noted it could find only three donations from Wei to the Liberal Party, and none of those directly went to Trudeau.
Canadian Gambling Probe May Also Focus on Human Trafficking
The bust at Wei’s house was by far the biggest of those made by police earlier this year, as it led to 32 people being arrested. Others arrested included 48-year-old Xiang Yue Chen, Wei’s wife, and Chen Wei, Wei Wei’s 25-year-old daughter.
Besides gambling laws, the elder Wei also faces 11 charges of unsafe firearm storage, four counts of unauthorized firearm possession, and a charge of selling liquor without a license.
According to the York police, Wei’s mansion didn’t just serve as a high-end casino. Along with more than CDN $1 million in cash being seized, authorities also confiscated more than $1.5 million in premium liquor.
The Post also reported that patrons of the casino also apparently had access to bedrooms in the mansion, and police have indicated there may have been some human trafficking going on as well.
The money moving through these underground casinos leads to huge profits for criminals that fund other ventures, such as prostitution and drug trafficking,” York Police Chief Jim MacSween said in a statement. “This illegal high-stakes gambling also leads to gun violence, armed robberies, kidnappings, extortion, and other serious violent offenses within our community.”
In all, the three busts in “Project End Game” have led to more than CDN $10 million in assets being seized.