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Kelowna business owner denies gang ties, sued again by government

Province looks to seize 9 properties alleged to have been purchased with proceeds from crime
(ALERT photo)

A Kelowna business owner who is alleged to be involved in gang activity may be forced to forfeit nine properties to the provincial government.

In February, the Director of Civil Forfeiture filed its first suit against Kulwant Singh Bal, requesting that six properties owned and operated by alleged drug trafficker Bal, his wife Catherine Angela Bal, and associates Darshan Kaur Bal, and Jaskaran Singh Sidhu, and related bank accounts be turned over to the province.

On April 23, Bal filed a response to the claim denying allegations of unlawful activity and stating that he is not a member of a criminal organization.

Then, on April 25, a second claim was filed in the Supreme Court of B.C., against Bal. The suit requests that three additional properties located in Lumby that are owned by Bal as well as approximately $80,000 in Canadian and U.S. currency, be turned over to the government as it is alleged to be “proceeds and instruments of unlawful activity.”

READ MORE: Province looks to seize Kelowna business involved in alleged drug trafficking

The civil lawsuits claim that Bal is a member of a criminal organization and point to charges against him for drug trafficking and fraud out of Alberta.

An article published by Kim Bolan, a B.C. gang and crime reporter, in the Vancouver Sun, alleges that Bal has ties to the Wolfpack gang alliance and the Hells Angels.

The Director of Civil Forfeiture states that in January 2021, the Kelowna RCMP began investigating Jaskaran Singh Sidhu, an associate of Bal’s and an employee of a credit union, for fraud.

Sidhu allegedly used his position at the credit union to allow Bal to submit falsified documents in order to secure mortgages to purchase the properties that are now being sought by the government.

Bal is also alleged to have been the drug supplier of a “dial-a-dope” operation in Lloydminster, Alberta. According to the lawsuit, Lloydminster police began investigating the drug operation in 2021. The investigation then led to the identification of Bal as the drug supplier.

Then, a covert operation in Kelowna that spanned from May 2021 until June 2022, led to the arrest of Bal and three others after they sold drugs to and agreed to launder money for undercover police officers on multiple occasions. According to the suit, the drug sale meetups often took place at Empire Motors, a used car business owned by Bal.

Bal and his associates are now facing charges, out of Alberta, of trafficking a controlled substance and conspiracy to traffic a controlled substance.

READ MORE: Kelowna men among 6 suspects facing drug charges in Alberta

In a response to the Director of Civil Forfeiture’s first suit, Bal claims that “the circumstances of the police investigation are outside [his] the knowledge,” and denies having involvement as the supplier to the drug trafficking operation.

However, the civil forfeiture suit stated that the properties sought and the money it is requesting, should be turned over as it has been used by the defendants to engage in unlawful activities such as the production, possession and possession of the purchase of trafficking of controlled substances.

The civil forfeiture suit also claims that Bal used funds acquired through committing a crime, including tax evasion, to purchase the all properties.

The suit alleges that Bal used all nine properties to launder money obtained by unlawful activities.

One of the nine properties named in the suit is Empire Motors, a used car business which located on Highway 97 North in Kelowna.

Bal has denied all allegations of unlawful activity made in the first civil forfeiture suit and claims to have lawful ownership of the properties and bank accounts named in the first court filings.

He also denies the allegations that the funds used to purchase the properties were from the proceeds of tax evasion or unlawful activity.

Bal has not yet filed a response to the second suit.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Jacqueline Gelineau

About the Author: Jacqueline Gelineau

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