No charges will be forthcoming in one of the largest money laundering probes in B.C. history, not even after the now-Premier David Eby asked for a second opinion.
Special prosecutor Christopher Considine has recommended that charges not be laid in the money-laundering case known as ‘E-Nationalize,’ the B.C. Prosecution Service announced Wednesday (March 1).
Considine acknowledged the province needs to send a message when it comes to money laundering, but said a prosecution here is “likely to (flounder)” because of the complexities in the case, which would have become a “complex mega trial.” He said the public interest would not be well-served by an expensive and lengthy prosecution that comes to nothing.
“Regrettably, the challenge of proving a viable predicate offence, given the wording of the current legislation, combined with the complexity of an enormous data set in a foreign language, have conspired to make the prospects for conviction poor, despite the best efforts of many dedicated officers,” he said in a statement released Wednesday.
According to Considine, the investigation produced 41,877 documents. Police also seized almost 90 smart phones and intercepted more than two million communications, the majority of which were in Mandarin.
Considine was appointed by Assistant Deputy Attorney General Peter Juk on behalf of then-former Attorney General, now Premier David Eby in Nov. 2021 to re-examine a case gathered against Richmond business owner Paul King Jin.
The Joint Illegal Gaming Investigations Team of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia investigated Jim as part of a multi-year investigation. Police arrested Jin in May 2017, but prosecutors never charged him because charge standards were not met. Eby then used his authority to direct Juk to retain the services of Considine, to conduct an independent charge assessment.
“Money laundering poses a threat to financial integrity in British Columbia and nationally,” Eby said at the time. “If there is a viable path to prosecuting Mr. Jin for money laundering or related offences and no prosecution is undertaken, public confidence in the justice system could be damaged.”
Considine’s statement includes a series of recommendations, including changes to the Criminal Code and the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act. Each are federal pieces of legislation outside provincial domain.
“It’s frustrating,” Attorney General Niki Sharma said, when asked about the decision.
“As you know, the B.C. Prosecution Service makes independent decisions, but we also have to remember these (aren’t) all of the tools in tool kit. We have civil forfeiture laws, we have other ways and we are also constantly as a government improving our ability to go after money laundering in this province.”
The so-called Cullen report released in June 2022 estimates billions are laundered in B.C. every year in callling for significant changes in enforcement.