British Colombia court subpoenas businessman re documents associated with alleged money-laundering case

B.C. Supreme Court has stipulated that a Mexican businessman must produce documents within 30 days in a case involving two properties, that the province alleges, were used to launder money linked to a $200-million plus international stock fraud.

A court order on Aug. 27 stated that Carlos Gomez Brana and ‘Cuatro Cienagas Inversiones Ltd.’ must deliver documents and full copies of those documents to the legal counsel for the B.C. Civil Forfeiture Office.

The court order stipulates that, if Brana or the company do not produce the documents, the civil forfeiture office can resubmit an application, including a request to the court to allow it to apply to take more than $1 million from the sale of the two properties.

In an earlier response, Brana and Cuatro Cienagas denied any wrongdoing and said the civil forfeiture claim should be dismissed, arguing the forfeiture office has no evidence whatsoever linking the defendants to the stock fraud and money laundering.

The request for documents includes whether Brana and the company ever had legitimate business in B.C., and whether Kayley Tyne Johnson and Benjamin Thomas Kirk were “effectively” hired to maintain the properties.

The global stock fraud in question generated more than US$165 million ($215 million Cdn) in illegal sales of shares of at least 50 penny stock companies, according to an investigation by the SEC. One of the key players pleaded guilty in the U.S. in 2020 to the scheme.

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