A Chinese immigration consultant, who has an office in Vancouver, is in custody in Shanghai, according to various Chinese-language media reports.
Linda Mei He, president of the Wailian Overseas Consulting Group Inc., is accused of illegal foreign-exchange trading involving more than RMB100 million or $18.6 million in Canadian funds. The reports say that He, 54, was one of five suspects arrested, but one of two that were detained.
Her company, Wailian, services wealthy immigrant investors and claims to be one of China’s largest immigration intermediaries with offices in major Chinese cities, including Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, as well as Hong Kong, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sydney, Singapore and Vancouver.
A phone call to the number listed for the Vancouver office went to a mobile account that has yet to be formatted.
Ernst and Young profiled He in 2018 as part of its annual top Asia-Pacific female entrepreneurs. The bio on the EY website said she had more than 500 employees in 30 branches across the Asia-Pacific, North America, Europe and Oceania.
“To satisfy the evolving demand of Chinese families for overseas investment, Wailian proactively created a ‘service loop,’ covering overseas investment and lifestyles, promoting cultural integration for investors and assisting investors' children to study abroad, plan their careers and deal with adolescence,” said the EY bio for He.
It also said that He has been involved in several philanthropic ventures, been a keynote speaker at international forums on business and migration and was the only Chinese expert invited to edit the “EB-5 Handbook: A Guide for Investors and Developers.”
British Columbia’s corporate registry shows an entry for Wailian Overseas Consulting Group Inc. and two related companies: Wailian Education Group Inc. and Wailian Investment Group Inc., which both name Xu Weibiao as a director. A source familiar with Wailian said that Xu, who also uses the English name Sean, is He’s husband and lists a residential address in Arbutus Ridge on the corporate registrations.
The company’s website, translated to English, says Wailian “advocates the lifestyle of ‘immigration without emigration’ and does special research on ‘rapid immigration,’ constantly breaking its own fast record.”
“American customers can pass in two days at the earliest,” Wailian boasts. “With the approval of the Immigration Bureau, Australian customers can be approved by the state government as soon as one day, Canadian customers can land in Vancouver as soon as one month, and European customers can get an investment residence visa as soon as five days without going abroad.”
The company website also claimed Wailian has participated in more than 100 investment projects in the U.S.
Wailian Investment Group has also been active politically in B.C.
Elections BC shows a $1,000 donation to the BC Liberals, now known as BC United, dated Nov. 30, 2016, from the company, via principal officer Xin Wang.
Then-premier Christy Clark and international trade minister Teresa Wat held a “Winter Celebration and Fundraising Gala” at the River Rock Casino show theatre in Richmond on Nov. 26, 2016. Clark and Wat met during the same week with visiting executives from China Poly Group, one of China’s biggest state-owned conglomerates.
Editor's note: This article was updated to clarify that an initial reference to Arbutus meant Arbutus Ridge.