VICTORIA — A civil action has been filed in British Columbia Supreme Court that could see the owner of a condo in Vancouver stripped of his property after allegedly violating COVID-19 restrictions.
The director of civil forfeiture filed the claim last week against Mohammad Movassaghi.
A notice of civil claim alleges the penthouse apartment is registered in Movassaghi’s name and has been used to “engage in unlawful activities.”
A message left with his lawyer was not immediately returned and Movassaghi has not responded to the forfeiture action, but court documents show he has until mid-October to reply.
None of the claims alleged in the civil claim by the director of civil forfeiture have been proven in court.
The two-bedroom suite in a 45-storey highrise is shown on the BC Assessment website as being valued at over $2.8 million, and the civil claim seeks all proceeds from the sale of the condo, once a mortgage of about $2 million is repaid.
The court document says Movassaghi was sentenced to one day in jail, fined $5,000 and placed on 18 months’ probation In April after being arrested for violating B.C.’s COVID-19 restrictions when a large party was held in the suite when gatherings were prohibited.
The civil claim also alleges Movassaghi continued to violate restrictions and hold large gatherings.
It alleges he operated an unlicensed bar and has used the property for other unlawful activities including laundering the proceeds of unlawful activity and using those proceeds to pay the mortgage.
“By converting the proceeds of the unlawful activity into the property, the property was used by the defendant as an instrument of unlawful activity, namely, the laundering of proceeds of crime,” the court document says.
It alleges Movassaghi did not have sufficient “lawful” income to buy the property, make the down payment or service the mortgage.
In May, the director of civil forfeiture filed a B.C. Supreme Court claim for $8,740 alleged to be proceeds of crime that it says was seized by Vancouver police when they entered Movassaghi’s suite in January using a search warrant after receiving a complaint about a large gathering at the property. Neither Movassaghi nor his lawyer have replied with the court to that claim.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 28, 2021.
The Canadian Press