THREE Chinese men were freed of money laundering charges by the chief magistrate on Monday.
Chief Magistrate Maria Busby Earle-Caddle discharged them after upholding a no-case submission advanced by their attorneys Wayne Sturge, Mario Merritt and Karunaa Bisramsingh.
The three – Yaun Fu Wu, Du Feng Wu and Yanbin Huang Liam – were charged in October 2015 after they were arrested at a house on Allan Street, Diego Martin, where a little over $1 million in TT, US and Venezuelan currency was found.
The State contended the money – TT$482,337, US$7,724 and 44,012 Venezuelan bolivares – was from an illegal gambling ring.
In upholding the no-case submission, Earle-Caddle agreed with the defence attorneys that the police failed to do a proper investigation to determine the exact source of the money.
In their submission, the three attorneys argued the money was legitimate cash from businesses they had in Venezuela and they intended to open and register another business in Trinidad and Tobago.
In objection, prosecutors argued the money was obtained contrary to the Proceeds of Crime Act.
However, the defence contended the police failed to verify the information the men gave when they were arrested, although they told investigators their business plans.
In evidence, police said they went on the suspicion that the men were involved in illegal gambling and there were bar owners who told them Chinese nationals had approached them to instal roulette machines at their establishments to facilitate illegal gambling. However, no one ever identified the men.