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Canada Montreal money launderer sentenced to 5 years in jail, serves 2 months

20:07  11 april  2018
20:07  11 april  2018 Source:   montrealgazette.com

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On January 30, Leng Ky Lech, a woman convicted of laundering millions of dollars for a notorious cocaine trafficker, was sentenced to a five-year prison term for not having paid a hefty fine related to her case.

On Tuesday, the Parole Board of Canada determined Lech, 55, should be released from the penitentiary she was brought to just two months ago.

Lech’s speedy release is based on how the Quebec Court judge who sentenced her in January interpreted a previous decision made by the judge who convicted Lech four years ago.

In March 2015, Quebec Court Judge Patrick Healy sentenced Lech and her husband, Sy Veng Chun, 69, to eight-year prison terms for laundering drug money for Daniel Muir, a prolific cocaine smuggler who was murdered in downtown Montreal in 2004. Lech and Chun had operated a money exchange counter in Montreal’s Chinatown for years before they were arrested, in 2004, as part of an investigation by the Montreal police. The investigation began after $600,000 in cash was discovered inside Chun’s luggage at Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport. The investigation revealed the couple had laundered more than $100 million for Muir and his associates.

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In March 2015, Quebec Court Judge Patrick Healy sentenced Lech and her husband, Sy Veng Chun, 69, to eight- year prison terms for laundering drug money for Daniel Muir, a prolific cocaine smuggler who was murdered in downtown Montreal in 2004.

Regardless of the difficulty in measurement, the amount of money laundered each year is in the billions of US dollars and poses a significant policy concern for governments.[8] As a result, governments and international bodies have undertaken efforts to deter, prevent, and apprehend money launderers .

The case dragged on for years at the Montreal courthouse until Lech and Chun were convicted in 2014. As part of the sentence, Healy ordered that the couple each pay a $2.4-million fine by March 18, 2017, or an additional five years would be attached consecutively to the eight-year sentences he handed down in 2015.

The fines were not paid and the case against the couple returned to court for a series of hearings held last year. On Jan. 30, Quebec Court Judge Manlio Del Negro revised the sentence Healy imposed. As part of a complicated 16-page decision, Del Negro determined that Healy, who has since been promoted to the Quebec Court of Appeal, wasn’t specific enough about whether the sentences should actually be served consecutively and ordered that they be served concurrently. Del Negro called the case “one of the most complex prosecutions of its kind in the history of Canadian Criminal Law.”

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He also jailed her for six months . Although her attackers were found guilty and sentenced to between 10 months and five years last year, she was simultaneously sentenced to 90 lashes as punishment for riding in a car with a man who was not a relative.

“It is my view that it was not the intention of (Healy) that his sentence be transformed into an 18 year term of imprisonment should the offenders be unable to pay their income tax fines,” Del Negro wrote in his decision. “In the court’s view, even if the judge did not address this issue specifically in his judgment, by not directing that the sentences for the income tax offenses be served consecutively should the offenders default in making the payment, the court infers that the sentencing judge’s intention was that the sentence for default in paying the fine not be consecutive.”

Both Lech and Chun were already out on parole when Del Negro delivered his sentence. It appears that the parole board made its decision in Lech’s file first. She was granted full parole in September.

Because of Del Negro’s interpretation of the sentence, the parole board was left to consider the five-year sentence he delivered two months ago as part of the sentence Lech was already granted parole on in September. The day after Del Negro’s decision was delivered, a warrant was issued suspending Lech’s release and she was returned to a penitentiary.

“There is therefore no new infraction nor is there a new sentence delivered by the court but rather a substitution of a fine for a period of detention,” the parole board stated in its decision made on Tuesday. “After an analysis, the board cancels the suspension of your full parole because it is not convinced that you will reoffend before your sentence expires.”

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