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Crown trying to forfeit $2.3M Richmond home, $2M cash and River Rock chips

Move comes after collapse of federal case into alleged $220 million money-laundering businesses in Richmond
Silver International was based out of this business centre at 5811 Cooney Road. Google Maps

A $2.3 million Richmond home, more than $2 million in cash and thousands of dollars of River Rock Casino chips are up for grabs as part of the B.C. crown civil forfeiture law suit.

The attempt by crown prosecutors to claim the assets surfaced last week in documents filed at B.C. Supreme Court which alleges the assets were owned by an illegal Richmond money business involved in laundering as much as $220 million a year.

The man and woman behind the businesses in question - Silver International at 5811 Cooney Road and Style Travel at 8271 Westminster Highway — had criminal charges for money laundering stayed without explanation by federal prosecutors last November.

The forfeiture claim also alleges that the business – owned and operated by Caixuan Qin and her spouse Jian Jun Zhu - laundered for customers that included drug traffickers importing cocaine from Mexico.

Although the criminal charges were recently stayed, the bar for proving a civil claim is lower than criminal, referred to as a “balance of probabilities” as opposed to “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

In the documents filed, it’s alleged that Qin and Zhu laundered more than $80 million during a four-month period in 2015.

Annually, according to the file, $221 million in money was taken in and $217 million was going out.

The allegations, however, have not been proven in court and the defendants and Silver International have yet to file a response.

A lawyer for the couple indicated to the Vancouver Sun that a response would be forthcoming, having previously argued for the seized assets to be returned to his clients.

The civil forfeiture suit comes a couple of months after the apparent collapse of the criminal case, prompting B.C.’s Attorney General David Eby to call for a review of what went wrong.

Also contained in the documents are details of how “The customers (of Silver International) included individuals linked to drug production, trafficking, money laundering, homicide, assault, possession of property obtained by crime and counterfeiting instruments and extortion.”

Other seized items referenced in the lawsuit were 9.6 grams of cocaine found at the Richmond home and a digital scale. Also seized at the home were a suitcase containing a card embosser, a credit card reader, a computer with data for 256 credit card account numbers that were not associated with Qin or Zhu; counterfeit identification in the names of various individuals; and eight boxes of rifle cartridges.