U.S. alleges Metro Vancouver homes were part of scheme to launder money embezzled in China

In early 2012, a few months after she left China for a new life as an immigrant investor in the United States, Shi Lan Zhao flew to Metro Vancouver, bought a numbered B.C. company and began searching for properties in which to invest.

Flush with money that she and her ex-husband, Jianjun Qiao, had moved from China through banks in China, Hong Kong and Canada, Zhao first bought a Richmond condo, paying for it outright. A few months later, on a return trip, she bought a five-bedroom White Rock home, also paying for it outright.

Zhao, 51, moved easily between B.C. and her home outside Bellevue in Washington state, making at least 20 trips since 2011. She became familiar to real estate agents and people at the Vancouver company that managed her properties and the banks where she and Qiao kept accounts.

But U.S. and Chinese investigators now suspect the money for the Metro homes purchases came from an embezzlement scheme that was just one part of a massive corruption and bribery operation that nearly crippled the China Grain Reserves Corporation, also known as Sinograin…

  • Jay Currie

    Not a huge surprise. There are on the order of 25 million dollar millionaires in China. Some, I fear, May not have acquired their money honestly. Vancouver, home of safety deposit boxes in the sky, aka condos, gets more than a few.

    What’s interesting is how many are not caught. Not that we are trying very hard.

    • Rosenmops

      I’d be surprised if any of them made the money honestly. Now no one but corrupt foreigners can afford to live in Vancouver. The city has been ruined .

  • lolwut?

    There are entire buildings in downtown Vancouver that are empty because all the suites are owned by Chinese with dual passports living overseas.

    Coal Harbour which is right on the water with a clear view of the mountains is a literal ghost town and has been for the decade or so when it first started being built.

    All of this has been known for years, businesses flood into an area when the condos go up and then they all go out of business less then a year later because nobody
    is living in the condos.

  • UCSPanther

    China’s government structure and corruption go hand in hand, and because of its closed nature, corruption can become very entrenched and difficult to remove. That seems to be a common thread for many post-Communist regimes…

    I have been hearing rumblings that the Chinese Politboro have been going on a rampage against corrupt officials not because of the desire to clean their image up, but out of fear of violent uprisings by their subjects due to the actions of said corrupt officials…

  • canminuteman

    A hundred years ago we had the Chinese exclusion act because some far sighted people could see what would happen to BC if they allowed masses of Chinese in. I doubt they get any satisfaction from saying “I told ya so” from the grave.

    • Frances

      Not fair to the many hard-working Chinese immigrants who have contributed to Canada over the years.

      • canminuteman

        It still doesn’t mean that the guys who built the place in the first place wanted to live in China. If the did, they could have immigrated o China themselves.

        • Frances


      • Rosenmops

        Admittedly they are vastly superior immigrants to Muslims. But there has been too much immigration too fast. It is disturbing that no one in my family can now afford to live in the city my mother and I were born in.

    • UCSPanther

      I would not allow anyone affiliated with the Chinese Politboro or its various branches in.

  • ntt1

    I have heard that there are several mainland Chinese investigators tracking people and illicit money in BC at any given time, The golden mountain is being used as a a safety deposit box with illicit funds being invested in real estate and mysterious bulk land purchases.;32.million paid for land valued at 8 million and so on.

  • Alain

    No doubt there is some truth, but what about all the huge amounts of U.S. money being funnelled to every radical professional protest group in Canada. I am a lot more concerned about that.