Richmond MP attempts to distance himself from “illegal international money-laundering scheme” court case

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As the federal election gets underway Richmond Liberal MP Joe Peschisolido is attempting to remove himself from a B.C. Supreme Court case featuring allegations that his former law firm was involved in an “illegal international money-laundering scheme.”The case concerns a $15-million immigration-investment deal in which some investors allegedly tried to “improperly influence” Canadian politicians to circumvent the “lawful” immigration process.Story continues below

According to legal filings seven Chinese investors forwarded funds to Peschisolido’s firm through an “underground bank” in China. And one of these investors “brought the funds into Canada in his own name to conceal involvement of the other six investors.”READ MORE: Sources say RCMP opened file on Liberal MP whose firm facilitated real estate deals in B.C.However the plaintiff in the case, Yicheng Jiang says he was “induced” to make the banking transactions as part of the immigration-investment opportunity that used Peschisolido’s firm.It’s alleged that Peschisolido and one of his firm’s “junior” lawyers, Yvonne Hsu, allowed the investor funds transferred from China to be diverted from the firm’s accounts to a prominent immigration entrepreneur and Liberal party fundraiser in B.C., Paul Oei.The civil case involving Oei and Peschisolido has already resulted in a 2018 B.C. Securities Commission ruling that found Oei defrauded a number of investors. As a result the Securities Commission banned him from selling investments in B.C. and ordered him to pay over $8 million in repayments and fines.In the Securities Commission hearing, Jiang testified his group had to use “black market” underground banking methods because Chinese citizens are barred from sending more than $50,000 in U.S. dollars abroad, per year.Hsu was suspended by the B.C. Law Society in August for three months for her conduct in the Oei case, according to the civil claim against her and Peschisolido.“Hsu allowed her trust account to be used to receive and disburse investor funds without making any or reasonable inquiries, including about the companies in which investors were purportedly receiving shares,” a statement from the Law Society says.In determining the suitable disciplinary action, the panel considered that Hsu has no previous discipline history, and accepted that she was not aware of and did not intend to facilitate the fraud.Peschisolido distances himself from dealIn his August filing,  Peschisolido argues he did nothing wrong and the ongoing case is unfairly damaging his chances of re-election this October. A trial is set for January 2021.“Joseph Peschisolido is not just a lawyer, but also a sitting Member of Canada’s Parliament,” his August 13 application states. “The serious and non-compensable prejudice to (Peschisolido) is obvious should he be deprived of the opportunity to exonerate himself in respect of the plaintiffs serious and unfounded allegations against Mr. Peschisolido personally.”But the plaintiff Jiang maintains Peschisolido is directly involved, and “this is a close to USD $4 million fraud case against a group of alleged fraudsters and their former lawyers.”Thursday in B.C. Supreme Court Madame Justice Sharon Matthews heard Peschisolido’s application to dismiss the claims against him, and opposing arguments from Jiang’s counsel. Justice Matthews has reserved her decision and its not clear when the decision will be issued.According to the filings, Jiang’s group from China thought they were investing in Paul Oei’s fertilizer company.Jiang says he and his co-investors were told that Oei was influential with high-level B.C. government officials and investors were promised an easy path to immigration in Canada and big profits.WATCH: NDP Leader grills Trudeau over ‘bare trust’ real estate deal facilitated by Richmond MP’s law firm