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B.C. lawyer facing disciplinary panel over 'criminal rate' loan

None of the allegations have been proven
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A B.C. lawyer is being investigated by the Law Society of B.C. amid allegations of arranging a “criminal rate” loan agreement.

William Lim, of Canmerica, has been cited by the society to answer professional misconduct allegations that he issued a loan in 2011 through Canmerica that “he knew or ought to have known provided for interest at a criminal rate.”

Interest rates, under the Criminal Code of Canada, which exceed 60 per cent per year are referred to as “criminal rates of interest.”

A second allegation, which will be heard by a law society panel, claims that, during a B.C. Supreme Court case in 2015, Lim “gave misleading evidence to the Court with respect to the rate of interest to be charged” in a Canmerica loan.

According to the February, 2018 citation, Lim’s alleged conduct constitutes professional misconduct or conduct unbecoming a lawyer.

None of the allegations have been proven. Lim could not be reached by the Richmond News for comment.

Citations are authorized by the Law Society of B.C.'s discipline committee and list allegations against a lawyer that will be considered at a discipline hearing.

According to the Vancouver Sun, Lim and Canmerica have been involved in a number of legal cases revolving around immigration, real estate and business investment.

Most recently, in a B.C. Supreme Court case that was settled just before going to trial, legal filings detailed allegations of secret cash dealings and transactions involving Lim and Canmerica at a Richmond Chinese restaurant business. Lim and the restaurant’s owner, a wealthy offshore real estate investor, successfully petitioned to close the settlement proceedings to the public.

In this case, a bitter financial dispute between the owners and Lim on one side, and the restaurant’s head chef and food suppliers on the other, spilled into allegations made in Chinese media.

Lim and Huang claim their reputations have been unfairly damaged in the Chinese media reports.

Case filings say that the restaurant’s principal investor, who is in China, invested in the business by using his company, YSY International Investments. Postmedia’s review of B.C. property documents shows that the investor, his wife and YSY International Investments own a total of $35.9 million in B.C. properties, including a number of farm plots in Richmond.

Daniel Reid, the lawyer representing Lim in the restaurant case, said he could not comment for this story.

In other findings involving Lim and Canmerica, several Immigration and Refugee Board decisions say Canmerica is allegedly involved in providing work for Chinese citizens that are attempting to fulfil Canadian residency requirements.

In one case, the board found a man named Chun Qing Huang could provide “no credible evidence … that the alleged work done by the appellant for Canmerica produced any results … the evidence does not establish, on the balance of probabilities, that there is any operation for Canmerica separate from (Lim’s law practice.)”

The decision also held that Canmerica is a “business that serves primarily to allow a permanent resident to comply with their residency obligation while residing outside Canada.”

In another case, the board rejected the appeal of Guo Qing Liu, who claimed his work for Canmerica Mortgage Corporation qualified as employment for a Canadian business. The decision says that Liu landed in Canada in 2005 with his wife and son, under the investor category.

Lim hired Liu to work for Canmerica, according to the decision, in order to provide real estate development consulting work in China for Tianjin Dongda, an investment company.

The board said that Canmerica Mortgage Corporation’s hiring of Liu for “‘assignment’ to China does not fall under the definition of employment outside Canada … (as) there is no connection to Canada.”

– Alan Campbell, Richmond News