The money laundering inquiry in B.C.’s has heard shocking details of connections between B.C. government casinos, Macau and Las Vegas casinos, and international drug traffickers and loan sharks moving money between Vancouver, Latin America, and Asia through Chinese underground banks.
On Monday, the Cullen Commission heard new information about the RCMP’s “E-Pirate” investigation into suspected drug money laundering in BC Lottery Corporation casinos involving an organized crime suspect named Paul King Jin.
Melvin Chizawsky told the inquiry that criminal charges against Jin and Silver International, a Richmond currency exchange business, were stayed in November 2018, RCMP Cpl.
He said that, but a related RCMP investigation called E-Nationalize and B.C. government civil forfeiture actions against Jin’s network and its so-called “Vancouver Model” money laundering continue.
An affidavit filed by Chizawsky said that the E-Pirate probe alleged that Silver was operating as a drug trafficking organization by laundering cash for drug dealers in China, Latin America, and Canada.
He said that Jin and Silver would arrange for Chinese nationals to deposit funds in Chinese banks and then pay them in Canadian cash, which they would use to gamble in B.C.
Jin and Silver would also l loan out cash in Richmond, according to the RCMP, which was allegedly deposited by drug traffickers who then directed Silver to transfer the money to China or other countries.
According to Chizawsky, the E-Pirate probe found “cellphone data was reviewed that indicated (Silver) had access to cash pools’ in numerous other locations, aside from China, including Mexico City and Bogota in Colombia.”
At the “height” of the investigation, up to 300 investigators were working on E-Pirate, according to Chizawsky. And records and videos seized from Silver in 2015 indicated the unregistered currency exchange took in $220 million in cash that year and paid out $217 million in locations worldwide.
He added that most of Silver’s cash deposits were bundles of cash that appeared to be delivered in methods consistent with drug trafficking.
According to RCMP evidence, the largest single deposit was a $1.4 million cash delivery from a man targeted in a Vancouver police for drug trafficking investigation.
According to Chizawsky, one of Silver’s customers in 2015 was Richard Chiu, who was convicted in Massachusetts in 2002 for conspiracy to distribute and possess heroin. Chiu, who was also being investigated in Vancouver for homicide and drug trafficking, was killed in Colombia in June 2019, according to Chizawsky.
Jin admitted to having gambling credit accounts with Las Vegas and Macau casinos when he was arrested and interviewed in February 2016, Chizawsky said, and that he used these accounts to promote his own gambling business with Chinese nationals whom he recruited in Macau casinos, so that he could lend them cash at Richmond’s River Rock Casino and Vancouver’s Edgewater Casino, and offer them underground casino betting in Richmond.
According to an interview transcript read in the inquiry, Jin bragged to Chizawsky and said that “You know I have got, like, a credit from the casino, right? My name is money. I call … (Jin laughs) they give money, right? I collect million, two million. They deal right away.”
RCMP surveillance of Jin and Silver International began in mid-2015, according to Chizawsky.
Jin was followed by the RCMP as he picked up large bags of cash from Silver in downtown Richmond, divide the cash into smaller packages at his parents’ Richmond home, and then delivered it to his own illegal casino, also in Richmond.
According to the inquiry, these cash loans were often secured by real estate owned by Chinese high rollers in Vancouver.
Some of these Chinese nationals were also found to be using River Rock Casino chips at Jin’s illegal casino mansion, which is located on a 27-acre parcel of rural Richmond land. According to records, this $10 million address on No. 4 Road was the second most expensive property in the city in 2019.
The inquiry heard that Jin had baccarat tables set up in his Richmond apartment, where the RCMP found $4.3 million in cash in a gun safe in the master bedroom.
While Jin admitted running a casino at the No. 4 Road mansion, he denied any criminality.
According to an RCMP interview transcript read at the inquiry, Jin said that “The small casino — I’m innocent too. I lose my money too.”
Jin’s alleged network was also related to massage and restaurant businesses in Toronto, as well as a Richmond massage parlor called Water Cube, which had directors in Richmond, Markham, Ont., and China, according to the RCMP.
Jin, who has been accused of aggravated assault, sexual assault, and sexual exploitation, denied extorting any of his cash loan clients but did call himself a “loan shark.” according to Chizawsky.
Jin said while explaining why he was seen traveling in vehicles registered to other people that “You know myself sometime in danger. (You) know me, I’m a loan shark and I have money, you know, right? … I move around, you know.”
However, Jin’s lawyer, Greg DelBigio, questioned the accuracy of Chizawsky’s affidavit and testimony.
Chizawsky admitted that he misattributed information in at least one case.
Jin has denied all charges, and none of the RCMP or the B.C. government’s claims regarding the casino investigations have been proven in court.