Canadian federal prosecutors will proceed by direct indictment in the case against two men accused of participation in the murder of a notorious casino money launderer, Richmond News reports.
Richard Charles (Ricky) Reed is charged with the first-degree murder of Jian Jun Zhu, who was gunned down as he dined at the Manzo Japanese restaurant in Richmond, Metro Vancouver. Co-defendant, Yuexi Lei, is charged as an accessory after the fact.
To proceed with direct indictment means that the cases will be expedited directly to trial, circumventing preliminary hearings to assess sufficient evidence. This is a special power that can only be applied by the Attorney General of Canada or Deputy Attorney General in “circumstances involving serious violations of the law and where it is the public interest to do so.”
Such situations may include, but are not limited to, where an investigation is ongoing or where witnesses may have been intimidated or threatened, according to the Public Prosecution Service of Canada’s website.
Sgt. David Lee of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team said after Reed was charged last November that there were additional people involved in the crime and the investigation was continuing.
Authorities believe Zhu was the axis of a largescale money laundering operation that washed hundreds of millions of dollars through Vancouver-area casinos.
He was shot as he dined with Paul King Jin, also a suspected money launderer, on September 18, 2020. He died the next day in the hospital. Jin was injured in the attack but survived.
Zhu owned currency exchange firm Silver International in Richmond with his wife Caixuan Qin. Prosecutors believe Silver was a front for an underground bank with links to the South American drug trade and the fentanyl factories of China’s Guangdong Province.
The operation may have laundered as much as $250 million per year through casinos. It took dirty cash from drug gangs which it lent to high rollers on trips from China, who were eager to bypass strict controls on moving money out of their homeland.
At this time, BC casinos were all too willing to accept large amounts of cash in low denomination bills. The Chinese high rollers could then choose to gamble minimally, before converting their chips into check form.
Silver would use a network of Chinese bank accounts to receive payments from high rollers and to pay the criminal gangs.
Things Fall Apart
Zhu and Qin were charged in 2017 and the case was billed as the Canada’s biggest ever money laundering prosecution. It was the culmination of Operation E-Pirate, a massive RCMP investigation into criminal money laundering networks.
But the case fell apart in 2019 because of a procedural error. Prosecutors inadvertently disclosed the name of a key secret government witness during a standard evidence disclosure. Federal prosecutors determined that to continue would place the witness at “high risk of death,” and the judge stayed the case.
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