Five Chinese investors are suing a Maple Ridge, B.C. developer for allegedly guaranteeing them immigration to Canada in exchange for an investment in a proposed hotel.
In two separate British Columbia Supreme Court lawsuits, the plaintiffs claim they agreed to invest a total of $7 million into the project developed by Seiko Huang.
They claim Huang said "he could guarantee the plaintiffs' immigration into Canada." But if their immigration applications should be denied, they say they were told they would be entitled to a return of their investments.
Now, all five claim they were denied immigration status and have yet to get their money back.
Reached at his home, Huang said he made no representations to anyone and has done nothing wrong.
"Nobody can promise immigration," he said.
Immigration consultants sued
Three of the claimants are also suing the immigration consultants who allegedly introduced them to Huang.
Xiaohong Lu, Aihong Cai and Zhen Ye claim they paid the equivalent of $170,000 each to research immigration opportunities and submit their applications.
The notice of claim says they were told the hotel "was a good investment as Mr. Huang had a good relationship with the City of Maple Ridge officials."
They claim they were told that in addition to their money, Huang and his partner would be investing an additional $5 million. But the lawsuits claim the developer instead used their money for purposes unrelated to the hotel.
The claimants say they found out their immigration applications had been rejected in December 2013. But they claim their investment has not been returned.
Lu, Cai and Ye also claim the immigration consultants reneged on an agreement to refund 70 per cent of their fees.
The proposal the 125-room hotel has been passed a third reading at Maple Ridge city council. The city says the building permit applications have been made, but approval is needed from the transportation ministry.
The project would be slated for construction on the Haney Bypass.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.