Vancouver police have charged a man with the murder of the alleged money launderer Jian Jun Zhu. Authorities believe Jian washed hundreds of millions of dollars in drug money through British Columbia casinos.
Richard Charles Reed, 23, is accused of firing the bullet that killed Jian, who was shot dead while dining at the Manzo Itamae Japanese Restaurant in Garden City, Richmond, on the evening of September 18, 2020. His associate, Paul King Jin, was injured during the attack but escaped with his life.
Reed, who goes by the name of “Ricky” has prior convictions that include robbery and uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm. In an official statement, Sgt. David Lee of the Integrated Homicide Investigation (IHIT) team said no further details about Reed’s involvement in the case would be released as the investigation was ongoing.
Lee said he believed there were others involved in the “brazen shooting,”
“Homicide investigators are still investigating and will seek out and arrest all those who are responsible,” he added.
Both Jian and Jin were investigated as part of British Columbia’s biggest money laundering investigation, dubbed Operation E-Pirate.
Jian, with his wife Caixuan Qin, was accused of heading up Silver International. Investigators claimed this was a front for a money laundering operation with links to the international drug trade. Prosecutors said the alleged the operation laundered around $250 million a year through British Columbia’s casino sector.
Silver International posed as a legitimate currency exchange, but prosecutors have alleged it was an underground bank and a prime example of the “Vancouver Model” of money laundering.
“You wouldn’t have the Vancouver Model without Silver International and their directors,” said criminologist Stephen Schneider.
Schneider was testifying at the Cullen Commission, a recent inquiry into British Columbia’s money laundering problem.
How Does the Vancouver Model Work?
Typically, Vancouver Model operations receive cash from drugs cartels and other criminal outfits who are paid an equivalent sum via bank transfer. Meanwhile, these operations also get payments into Chinese bank accounts from Chinese VIP gamblers who want to circumvent strict controls on moving money out of the country.
When the gamblers arrive in Canada on casino junkets, they are repaid in dirty money. This is then accepted by local casinos and converted into chips, often in violation of anti-money laundering directives. It can then be cashed out, usually in check form.
The prosecution of Jian and Silver International was billed as Canada’s biggest money laundering case, until it collapsed in 2018. Prosecutors accidently released the name of a key government informant to the defense during a routine evidence disclosure. The presiding judge ruled that to continue with the prosecution would put the witness “at risk of death.”
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