An alleged Chinese cartel drug boss used Liberal MP Joe Peschisolido’s law firm to launder money through a Metro Vancouver project, according to an in-depth investigation by Global News.
The deal for the condo development was a “bare trust” joint venture with a company directed by Kwok Chung Tam, who reportedly holds a position of authority in the major cartel called Big Circle Boys, according to the Canada Border Services Agency.
Said venture gave Tam an instrument that masked his direct involvement in the acquisition of a 3.7-acre property in Coquitlam, BC. The purchase was valued at $7.75-million, and it was sold for $14.8 million in 2015.
Per court documents, Tam was still serving a conditional sentence for a 2010 drug trafficking conviction at the time of the transaction’s completion.
Tam has maintained that he is a legitimate businessman, but his source of wealth has been in question ever since his arrival in Vancouver over 30 years ago.
“I am not now nor have I ever been a member of a gang, triad or criminal organization,” Tam asserted in a July 2016 court affidavit. His Vancouver immigration lawyer also insisted to Global News that the allegations have never been proven in court or in an immigration hearing.
Law enforcement and immigration records from 1991 to 2014 indicated otherwise: accumulated evidence strongly suggested that Tam was most likely a casino loan shark, drug facility operator, and heroin importer who has repeatedly and “brazenly” flouted Canadian law.
Another damning piece of information is that the numbered company used by Tam in the aforementioned bare trust deal has been associated with several Richmond properties investigated by the RCMP for possible drug links back in 2006.
The situation also puts into the spotlight the verification procedures that law firms offering such services use, and whether Peschisolido’s firm did its part properly before undertaking a transaction with a notorious personality.
“Lawyers need to be asking their clients, how did you make your money?” RCMP International Organized Crime Investigation Unit former commander Kim Marsh stated.
“Anybody doing basic due diligence, even basic Google searches, would determine there is huge red flags, that these individuals are involved in illicit activities,” he added. “So anyone doing business with them is either doing nothing, or it’s a case of willful blindness.”