Lawyer for suspected loan shark warns money laundering investigation of calls for more enforcement
Lawyer for a suspected loan shark on Tuesday warned the man overseeing a public inquiry into money laundering in British Columbia of solutions that would solve the problem by strengthening law enforcement at the expense of civil rights.
Paul King Jin played an unusual role in Judge Austin Cullen’s commission on money laundering.
The Lower Mainland man was granted standing at the inquest last November in a decision in which Cullen noted that Jin’s name emerged in testimony suggesting he “got involved. in money laundering and loan sharking in connection with BC casino activities ”.
In final written and oral submissions, Jin’s attorney Greg DelBigio pointed out that his client was investigated – but never charged – as part of the RCMP investigation. on Operation E-Pirate on Money Laundering.
DelBigio said there is clearly not enough evidence to prosecute. He urged Cullen to be equally circumspect in calling for greater law enforcement powers.
“If you ask law enforcement officials if they need more tools and fewer restrictions, the answer will be obvious: they’ll say ‘Yes’,” DelBigio said.
“But the question I am submitting looms on the horizon: ‘Is there any evidence that more tools for law enforcement, more law enforcement and less barriers to rights? targets will result in less crime and less proceeds from crime? “
“It’s a deep allegation to make”
Cullen ended his hearings on Tuesday more than two years after the province appointed the BC Supreme Court judge to examine the alleged flow of billions of dollars of dirty money into the province’s casinos, the real estate market , luxury car sales and drug trafficking.
Cullen noted that since the start of public hearings in October 2019, the commission had heard 198 witnesses and presented 1,063 exhibits, totaling 70,000 pages of evidence, as part of the proceedings.
He has spent the past three days listening to closing remarks from a larger number of lawyers representing a range of governments, agencies, interest groups and individuals – many of whom seemed to disagree with each other. others.
At one point, a lawyer for the BC Lottery Corporation attacked the lawyer for the BC Government Employees Union for suggesting that BCLC officials and staff had been “willfully blind” to money laundering. .
William Smart said the complaint was “in fact an allegation that they committed a serious criminal offense”.
“It’s a deep claim to make,” said Smart.
“No other participant has made such an allegation during these concluding observations, about BCLC or any other participant. This is a public inquiry where the personal reputation of individuals is at risk. damaged for years to come. “
On a related note, a lawyer for former British Columbia Liberal solicitor general Kash Heed said his client should not have been involved in the investigation, but was forced to stand by. defend against a whistleblower who claimed Heed told him that former gaming minister Rich Coleman had gone blind. beware of money laundering in casinos.
Former RCMP Illegal Gambling Task Force Commander Fred Pinnock said Heed told him in 2009 that he was “convinced” Coleman knew what was going on in BC casinos and that the mounted police were complicit.
Pinnock secretly recorded conversations with Heed in 2018, which he said were “confirmed” and “expanded” on the unsaved conversations from 2009.
Heed’s attorney, Peter Senkpiel, said the allegations made for explosive media reports, but that Heed “did not make unfounded allegations about government officials and law enforcement agents. ‘order’ in 2009, and that whatever he might have said in 2018 had been said in a different context, like a private citizen, with no direct knowledge, years out of government.
In earlier submissions, Pinnock’s attorney has said his client has nothing to gain from lying, calling on Cullen to respect the sacrifices of whistleblowers who have faced backlash for coming forward.
“In the field of private lending”
At one point, Paul King Jin unsuccessfully requested that a 653-page overview of the lawsuits and allegations against him be kept out of evidence.
The overview details loans allegedly linked to “high risk” players who in some cases have been reported for suspicious transactions involving large cash purchases at casinos.
According to the document, Jin states in a court affidavit “that he is in the private lending business.”
Jin also unsuccessfully attempted to force Commission counsel to provide him with a definition of the term “lender shark” or – alternatively – an order that the term not be applied to him.
DelBigio said Jin is still defending himself against civil confiscation requests and that investigative evidence suggests a criminal investigation may be underway against him, making it difficult for Jin to speak up without risking harm.
He garnered support for his position on rights from the BC Civil Liberties Association, which said greater powers of civil confiscation and increased information sharing between agencies is not the answer to money laundering.
“There have been many calls for increased oversight and information sharing within this commission,” BCCLA lawyer Jessica Magonet told Cullen.
“However, there is no credible evidence that these initiatives will reduce money laundering. On the other hand, it is clear that these proposals will be costly and erode privacy rights.”
After the last submission, Cullen thanked the staff behind the scenes of the investigation and all of the attorneys who made submissions. He did not give a timeline for his final report.