Vancouver Casino Money Laundering Kingpin Slaying Now Has Second Man Charged

Posted on: April 29, 2022, 08:21h. 

Last updated on: April 29, 2022, 01:13h.

Vancouver police have charged a second suspect in connection with the 2020 shooting death of alleged money laundering kingpin Jian Jun Zhu, Business in Vancouver reports.

Jian Jun Zhu
Jian Jun Zhu, above, died from a hail of bullets in September 2020. He was the owner of Silver International, a suspected money-laundering operation with links to the drug trade. (Image: South China Morning Post)

Yuexi Lei, also known as Alex Lei, 37, appeared in Richmond Provincial Court Thursday. He is charged with two counts of accessory after the fact and one count of accessory after the fact to murder. Police arrested him on March 10, according to court filings.

Authorities believe Jian was the center of an operation that washed hundreds of millions of dollars in drug money through British Columbia casinos.

He was gunned down at a Japanese restaurant in Richmond, British Columbia, on September 18, 2020, and died the next day in the hospital. His associate, Paul King Jin, also a suspected money launderer, was injured in the shooting but survived.

Murder Charge

In November 2021, police charged 23-year-old Richard Charles Reed with first-degree murder in relation to the shooting. He is accused of firing the bullet that killed Jiang.

Reed has also been charged with aggravated assault, possessing a firearm with an altered serial number, possessing a loaded, prohibited, or restricted firearm, unlawful discharge of a firearm, and discharging a firearm with intent to wound/disfigure.

Lei is scheduled to appear in court on May 4 on unrelated stolen property and firearms offenses.

Jian owned Silver International with his wife Caixuan Qin. The business ran as a currency exchange firm in Richmond. However, investigators believe it was actually an underground bank linked to the international drug trade.

Through British Columbia’s casino sector, the operation may have laundered up to $250 million a year. It was a primary example of what came to be known to the international intelligence community as the “Vancouver Model” of money laundering.

Vancouver Model

Typically, this involves underground banks receiving cash from drug cartels and other criminal outfits, paid an equivalent sum via bank transfer. Meanwhile, Chinese citizens who want to circumvent strict controls on moving money out of China make payments into Chinese bank accounts controlled by the underground bank.

When they arrive in Vancouver, the Chinese citizens are paid in dirty cash accepted by local casinos and converted into chips, which can later be cashed out in check form.

Jian and Qin were prosecuted in 2018 in what was billed as Canada’s biggest money laundering case. But it quickly fell apart when prosecutors inadvertently released the name of a key government informant to the defense during a routine evidence disclosure.

The judge determined that continuing with the trial would put the witness “at risk of death.”