B.C. civil forfeiture director seeks to seize $4-million Vancouver house that was once a cannabis grow-op

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Nearly three years after Vancouver police discovered a cannabis grow-op in Dunbar, the province has inched closer to taking possession of the house.

On September 4, B.C. Supreme Justice Ronald Skolrood dismissed owner Andy Liu's application to dismiss parts of a notice of civil claim filed by the director of civil forfeiture.

Skolrood also upheld the director's application to seek additional documents from Liu, including tax returns over a five-year period.

"I am satisfied that the defendant’s financial circumstances immediately prior to the purchase of the Property are relevant and that the January 1, 2011 start date for the production of the records is appropriate," Skolrood wrote in his decision. "Given that the sale of the Property occurred in the tax year 2016, production of returns for that year is also appropriate."

The director is seeking forfeiture of a property at 3456 West 36th Avenue, where the grow-op was located.

It's been valued at $4 million by B.C. Assessment.

A 20-day trial is scheduled to begin on November 19.

The director has alleged that the home was bought with "the proceeds of illegal activity".

Liu, on the other hand, has alleged that $224,200.34 of the purchase price came from the sale of his mother's home on Kingsway. He maintained that an additional $1.25 million was secured from an RBC mortgage, and a $1.05-million loan came from his mother's company.

In November 2015, the RBC mortgage was paid off.

Liu has claimed that this money came from his mother's company and his cousin.

"The defendant goes into considerable detail in his affidavit to describe these sources of funds and to document the various transactions," Skolrood wrote. "In contrast to this detailed description, the defendant submits that the Director has advanced nothing more than 'bald, unparticularized and unsubstantiated allegations' that the Property was purchased with the proceeds of unlawful activity."

The judge not only granted the director access to Liu's personal tax returns over a five-year period, but also the tax returns of his company, Green Culture Enterprises.

In addition, Skolrood ruled that the director can view credit card statements, financial statements, bank statements, investment accounts, lines of credit, and mortgage accounts of Liu and Green Culture Enterprises.

"I agree with the Director that the unredacted bank statements are relevant to the issue of whether the Property was used as an instrument of unlawful activity or whether the defendant was in receipt of the proceeds of unlawful activity," Skolrood wrote in his decision.

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