The NDP has asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to investigate the case of Richmond MP Joe Peschisolido, who has been sued by Chinese investors in connection with an immigration investment fraud case.
Plaintiff Yicheng Jiang alleges a group of seven investors were persuaded by B.C. immigration entrepreneur Paul Oei to use illegal underground banking transactions in China to wire about $4 million into a trust account at Peschisolido’s law firm.
The B.C. Securities Commission accuses Oei of perpetrating “a fraudulent scheme” to bilk Chinese investors of $6.9 million in a Fraser Valley recycling plant project. The Chinese investors alleged losses and sued Oei, Peschisolido and Peschisolido’s law firm in separate, but related, B.C. Supreme Court lawsuits.
The lawsuits claim Peschisolido, as a lawyer, was responsible because funds meant to be transferred from his firm’s trust fund to recycling plant investments went to Oei’s personal use instead.
“These are serious allegations, and I would call on the prime minister to start looking into this,” Vancouver NDP MP Don Davies said in an interview Wednesday. “The allegations are unproven, but at least from a political point of view, a lot of bells are ringing in this case.”
According to the plaintiff Jiang, Oei told the Chinese investors that by investing through Peschisolido’s legal trust fund they would get an extra layer of confidence in the immigration-investment scheme due to Peschisolido’s reputation “as an MP and big-name lawyer.”
Jiang’s B.C. Supreme Court claim says investors were told Oei “had connections with high-level officials in the government of B.C.” and that any person investing $1 million in Oei’s recycling plant project would be granted Canadian permanent resident status.
“They mentioned their ties to government, very clearly. (Oei) mentioned the premier and high-level federal ministers have ‘very special’ relations with him,” Jiang said in an interview with Postmedia News. “He mentioned Christy Clark, and he mentioned some MPs, including Joe Peschisolido.”
The legal response by Peschisolido and his firm denies any wrongdoing and states that he was unaware of any fraud or breach of trust.
Peschisolido did not respond this week to multiple requests for comment from Postmedia reporters in Ottawa and Vancouver. In a previous interview with Postmedia, Peschisolido said he could not comment on Jiang’s allegations. Peschisolido acknowledged he has been photographed with Paul Oei at political functions, but he maintained Oei was not his client, but his firm’s client.
“The courts will do what the courts do,” said Peschisolido.
Corporate registry records for 2016 show that Peschisolido is the sole director, president and secretary of the firm named in the case, Peschisolido and Company.
Oei denies any wrongdoing in all of the cases.
NPD MP Davies said in addition to breach of trust allegations, the case seems to have parallels to the so-called “cash-for-access” questions that opposition parties have recently been hammering Prime Minister Trudeau and his party with in Parliament.
“We have allegations of breach of trust, and now on top of that (in the case) we have donations to the Liberal Party of Canada,” Davies said. “Given the general issue that has been in Parliament all fall, the question of access to politicians and money involved, I think all of this means that the Prime Minister needs to look at this right away.”
Oei and his wife have donated over $67,000 to the B.C. Liberals, and they have donated $8,477 to the federal Liberals since 2014. In July 2015 Oei’s company Organic Eco-Centre Corp. sponsored a pre-election luncheon in Richmond featuring Justin Trudeau. The company has been named in B.C. Securities Commission allegations against Oei.
Liberal party spokesman Braeden Caley did not respond by deadline Wednesday to the NDP’s call for an investigation.
“As this matter is currently before the courts, the party is in not a position to be able to comment further,” Caley has said previously of Peschisolido’s case.featured, front