Charges stayed in B.C. money-laundering case

RCMP reviewing investigation into Richmond organization alleged to have been laundering up to $1.5 million per day through casinos

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Charges in a high-profile B.C. money-laundering case have been stayed in BC Provincial Court, an RCMP spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday.

An RCMP statement confirmed that all charges related to project E-Pirate, an effort to thwart an organized crime group believed to be laundering a significant amount of cash through B.C. casinos, have now been stayed based on a joint decision between police and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada.

“The charges were stayed for several reasons that materialized during the course of the file,” said RCMP spokeswoman Tania Vaughn in the statement. “The nature of [the reasons] will not be discussed in any detail given operational sensitivities.”

Officials said the RCMP is undergoing a full-scale review to understand how certain investigative activities undertaken by police contributed to the stay of charges. Officials also said whatever lessons learned from the review will be incorporated into future operations to prevent or mitigate similar circumstances from happening.

The RCMP did not comment on whether they plan to revive the stayed charges in the future, nor did officials discuss further details on the case.

Project E-Pirate began in April 2015. RCMP officials said previously they had uncovered a Richmond money-laundering service that handled as much as $1.5 million daily. The investigation resulted in charges against Silver International Investments Ltd. and the company’s two principal operators, Caixuan Qin and Jain Jun Zhu.

Before the charges were stayed, a trial on the case had been set to begin in January.