Man charged with murder of accused in high-profile B.C. money-laundering case

·3 min read
A suspect has been charged with murder in connection with the shooting of accused money-launderer Jian Jun Zhu in September 2020. (Shane MacKichan - image credit)
A suspect has been charged with murder in connection with the shooting of accused money-launderer Jian Jun Zhu in September 2020. (Shane MacKichan - image credit)

A suspect has been charged with the murder of a B.C. man alleged to have been at the centre of an international money-laundering operation.

According to court documents, Richard Charles Reed has been charged with the first-degree murder of Jian Jun Zhu, who was accused in a high-profile laundering case that collapsed in dramatic fashion in 2018.

Zhu died in September 2020 after he was shot at a Japanese restaurant in Richmond, B.C., alongside Paul King Pao Jin, an associate who was named as a loan shark at a recent commission into money laundering in the province.

Reed has also been charged with aggravated assault in connection with the attack on Jin, as well as possession of a prohibited weapon without a licence, and recklessly firing a gun in a place where other people were present.

The charges were sworn Monday and Reed was scheduled to make an appearance in provincial court in Richmond on Tuesday. A bail hearing has been set for Dec. 14.

Underground bank

Both Zhu and Jin were key figures in the RCMP's failed E-Pirate investigation into money laundering.

Documents related to E-Pirate alleged that Zhu ran an underground bank that laundered more than $200 million per year.

CFSEU-BC
CFSEU-BC

All charges against Zhu, who denied any wrongdoing, were eventually stayed in November 2018.

Federal prosecutors have refused to provide the reason but court recordings and documents detailed months-long delays sparked by the realization the Crown had mistakenly disclosed privileged information.

The names of both Zhu and Jin arose repeatedly at B.C. Supreme Court Justice Austin Cullen's commission into money-laundering, which was established in May 2019 to examine the alleged flow of billions of dollars worth of dirty money through the province's casinos, real estate market, luxury car sales and the drug trade.

Jin was granted standing at the inquiry after Cullen noted that his name had emerged in testimony suggesting he "has been engaged in money laundering and loan sharking relating to activities at British Columbia casinos."

On the final day of the hearing in October, Jin's lawyer noted that his client was investigated — but never charged — as part of E-Pirate. He told Cullen there clearly wasn't enough evidence to prosecute.

Cullen is scheduled to release a final report in December after hearing from 198 witnesses and considering 1,063 exhibits, totalling 70,000 pages of evidence.

The 'Vancouver model'

During hearings at the Cullen Commission, criminologist Stephen Schneider described the "Vancouver model" used to launder illegal funds from China and revenue from drug trafficking.

The model, which has since been studied worldwide, involves moving large amounts of funds from China through informal value transfer systems to avoid China's limits on money leaving the country. Once in Canada, those funds are mixed with cash from the drug trade, and the cash is then laundered through B.C. casinos and private mortgages.

Schneider said Silver International Ltd. was at the centre of this operation. Zhu was one of the directors of the company.

"You wouldn't have the Vancouver model without Silver International and their directors," Schneider said.

At the time of the shooting in September 2020, the Integrated Homicide Investigation Unit called the attack "brazen" and said that while both victims were well known to police there was no evidence it's connected to ongoing gang conflicts in the Lower Mainland.

None of the charges against Reed have been proven in court.

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