A decision to hand back $2 million in previously seized cash to a couple accused of running a money-laundering operation in Richmond has been overturned by a judge.
In the civil forfeiture suit, Caixuan Qin and her spouse, Jian Jun Zhu, are accused of running an underground bank in Richmond, called Silver International, to the tune of $220 million a year.
A lower B.C. court had earlier decided to return the $2 million to Qin and Zhu, who were allegedly involved in the province’s biggest money-laundering case.
But in a decision released last week, Justice Mary Newbury, of the B.C. Court of Appeal granted a stay of the return of the money seized four years ago by the RCMP in the E-Pirate investigation.
What that means is that the cash will continue to be held under a freeze order, pending the outcome of a civil forfeiture case in B.C. Supreme Court.
That order seeks to have the cash and assets forfeited permanently as proceeds of crime.
The pair, who ran Silver International out of the Pacific Business Centre on Cooney Road, has denied any wrongdoing and said the search and seizures violated their Charter rights.
The civil forfeiture case was launched in 2018, immediately after criminal money-laundering charges were stayed against Qin and Zhu.