The federal ethics commissioner has opened an inquiry into the conduct of B.C. Liberal MP Joe Peschisolido, whose former law firm has been linked to financial transactions and business dealings with an alleged Chinese organized crime figure, Global News has learned.
In a letter dated Aug. 6 from Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion to Conservative MP Peter Kent, Dion confirms that his office is investigating Peschisolido’s failure to report the fact that the B.C. Law Society took control of his law firm earlier this year.
The investigation was prompted by a request from the Conservatives to Dion’s office. The letter says Dion gave Peschisolido 30 days to respond to the claim that he did not report a change in status for his law firm as required by federal ethics rules. After receiving Peschisolido’s response, Dion decided an investigation was necessary.
“Your request relied on a media report mentioning that the British Columbia Law Society took control of Peschisolido Law Corporation to allege that Mr. Peschisolido failed to report a material change to the information contained in his Disclosure Statement within 60 days after the change, as required by the Code,” the letter states.
”Having carefully considered your request and Peschisolido’s written representations…I have determined that an inquiry is warranted and have so informed Mr. Peschisolido.”
The letter to Kent refers to investigative reporting by Global News that showed Peschisolido’s law firm helped facilitate a secretive B.C. real estate deal — known as a ‘bare trust’ deal — that helped an alleged Chinese “drug boss” hide his ownership stake in a $7.8 million condo development. Financial crime experts who reviewed federal court records obtained by Global News said this deal, though legal, should have raised “huge red flags” at the MP’s law firm regarding possible money laundering.
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