Lawyers and Members of Parliament are not entitled to have cases affecting them heard by summary trial, ruled a judge who dismissed defeated Trudeau Liberal MP Joe Peschisolido’s bid to quash a fraud victim’s lawsuit.
Peschisolido lost his Steveston-Richmond East seat in the Oct. 21 federal election to Conservative Kenny Chiu by more than 2,700 votes. On Sept. 12, his lawyer asked the B.C. Supreme Court to throw out Yicheng Jiang’s case against him, claiming that Jiang had not advanced his case for almost four years. Jiang lost US$3.7 million invested in the compost and fertilizer scheme run by securities fraudster Paul Oei, who had retained a lawyer at Peschisolido’s Richmond firm.
Peschisolido argued there was no evidence he was negligent or knowingly assisted in a breach of trust and that Jiang’s delay in prosecuting the case prejudiced his re-election campaign and damaged his reputation.
“Mr. Peschisolido moved to have this summary trial after the trial was adjourned, and on the first day of the election period,” wrote Justice Sharon Matthews in her Oct. 30 verdict. “As is apparent from the timing of the release of these reasons, the election period was insufficient time for a decision to be considered and delivered before the election concluded in any event.”
Matthews found no authority to fast-track cases for someone like Peschisolido. The complexity of the overlapping claims and conflicting evidence means the case is not suitable for summary trial.
In November 2015, Jiang sued Oei and his wife Loretta Lai, their companies Canadian Manu Immigration and Financial Services and Cascade Renewable Organics, Peschisolido, his law firm and Oei and Lai’s lawyer Yvonne Hsu. Jiang alleged that Peschisolido’s law firm received US$15 million in funds from Oei and Lai’s investors and structured the fraudulent investment scheme.
Document discovery did not begin until early 2018. Some of the delay was also blamed on arguments over whether some documents were privileged and whether Oei and Lai would waive their privilege. Jiang also suffered health and financial setbacks.
“The delay [Jiang] has caused is not so long or undue that it would be appropriate to proceed with a summary trial notwithstanding the conflicting evidence and the interrelation between the case against Mr. Peschisolido, Ms. Hsu and Peschisolido Law Corporation,” Matthews ruled.
In August 2018, B.C. Securities Commission found Oei and his companies committed fraud against more than 50 investors including Jiang. In August of this year, the Law Society of B.C. found Hsu committed professional misconduct related to the fraudulent investment scheme. Peschisolido turned in his law licence and the B.C. Law Society appointed a custodian last spring to wind-up his law firm.
Jiang deposed that he traveled to B.C. in December 2009 and February 2010 and dined with Oei and Lai at a Richmond restaurant with potential investors, where he was introduced by Oei to Peschisolido as “a former member of Parliament and a socialite.”
Jiang said he was told, via translation by Lai, that Peschisolido would receive and handle the investment money, “and that Mr. Jiang could be 100% sure that the investment money would be safe because it was going to be deposited into Mr. Peschisolido’s trust account.”
Jiang claimed Peschisolido shook his hand and gave him a business card with a handwritten email address on it. Peschisolido, however, deposed that he did not recall ever meeting Jiang and that the handwritten email address did not exist until after 2012.
“While Mr. Peschisolido asserts that he was not supervising Ms. Hsu and had no familiarity with her work for Mr. Oei and Ms. Lai and their companies, he was clearly involved to some extent including disbursement of a significant amount of Mr. Jiang’s funds on two occasions, totalling over $1 million. Mr. Jiang argues there were red flags that Mr. Peschisolido and Peschisolido Law Corporation should have identified and acted on. He points to evidence at the Law Society hearing that Ms. Hsu was over her head to argue that she was not properly supervised by Mr. Peschisolido.”
In a July statement, Peschisolido said: “In all my duties, I have always conducted myself with utmost integrity and professionalism.”
theBreaker.news exclusively reported that a protester from a mid-August Vancouver rally in support of China’s Communist Party regime was working inside Peschisolido’s campaign office when it opened in September. Eileen Chen said she was a volunteer on Peschisolido’s re-election campaign. Video evidence contradicted the denial from a spokesman for Peschisolido, who did not respond to interview requests.
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