CBSA must disclose information about money-laundering allegations

The permanent resident, who came from China in 2002, is known only as XY in a pair of rulings over the last year by the Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeal.

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The federal public safety minister has lost a bid to overturn a court ruling that ordered the Canada Border Services Agency to assign a new officer to review the admissibility of a Vancouver resident whom it alleges is a money launderer.

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The permanent resident, who came from China in 2002, is known only as XY in a pair of rulings over the last year by the Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeal.

The Appeal Court recently dismissed a bid by the minister to set aside last August’s Federal Court ruling that agreed with XY’s claim that he had been unfairly treated by the border agency.

Appeal Court Judge Anne Mactavish dismissed the government’s case on a technicality, saying that “a necessary precondition” for the appeal had not been met.

She explained that the earlier judgment allowed “XY’s application for judicial review of the decision of a CBSA officer to prepare a report” that found him inadmissible “for being a member of an organization that itself was believed to be or to have been engaged in organized criminality.”

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XY’s lawyer had argued in Federal Court that he was denied procedural fairness because he was not provided with the evidence used to make that decision, including some from Chinese officials.

And the lawyer said it was inappropriate that the permanent resident was sent for an admissibility hearing without having access to that information.

Last August, Federal Court Judge Michael Manson accepted those arguments and said XY’s case should be sent to a different CBSA agent to reassess.

Some details of the allegations against XY are blacked out in Manson’s decision.

The judge said XY learned of his immigration problem when he was notified in a May 2018 letter that an admissibility report was being prepared because he “was alleged to have provided false employment information in his application to renew his permanent resident card, in the context of an immigration scheme.”

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He was interviewed by the CBSA officer the following April who asked about allegations of “bribery and money laundering,” Manson said.

XY’s lawyer was at the interview and “stated that the applicant would not be answering questions in regards to this and sought a written outline disclosing the allegations against the applicant, on the basis of which a disclosure request would be made.”

Another CBSA letter sent to XY that fall alleged he was involved in “transnational transactions that were attempts to engage in money laundering”.

XY was told he been under investigation since 2012, when information was received from the Chinese authorities and supported by “various sources.”

XY’s request for disclosure was denied by the CBSA as premature.

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XY’s “submissions addressed the potential personal impact of a removal order on him and his family, and the risk of death or cruel and unusual punishment or treatment, including torture, should the applicant be returned to China,” Manson said.

Despite his concerns, XY was told there would be a hearing to determine whether he would be allowed to remain in Canada.

That prompted his application to the Federal Court, which was heard by Manson last July.

Manson said XY was entitled to receive “disclosure sufficient for the applicant to address concerns related to the reliability of the evidence gathered by the Chinese authorities that formed the basis of the inadmissibility allegations.”

“I find that the applicant in this case lacked the information necessary to answer the evidence of inadmissibility held by CBSA. This information was provided by the Chinese authorities and supported by other unknown sources. The information was not available to the applicant publicly or through other avenues.”

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