The financing division of BMW Canada Inc. filed multiple lawsuits against customers who leased high-end cars from the company to allegedly facilitate their illegal export from Canada.
BMW Financial Services Canada filed four notices of civil claim in BC Supreme Court on May 9. In one claim, the company names Yury Nikolaidi, Starcharm Western Enterprises Ltd., Hongzetao Xu, Lu Zhao, Yang Guang Lin and 9981187 Canada Inc. as defendants.
BMW claims it signed a financing deal in January 2018 for a BMW X5 xDrive35i with Nikolaidi, who “specifically warranted that the vehicle was being purchased and would be used for his personal, family or household use.”
“He also agreed he would not export the vehicle,” the claim states. The terms of BMW’s purchase agreements are “critically important” to “ensure that its vehicles are not purchased by individuals, entities, organized crime groups or money launderers for unlawful purposes or use in unlawful activities and discourage the use of ‘nominee’ purchasers by individuals, entities, organized crime groups or money launderers to evade detection and facilitate unlawful use and export of BMW vehicles.”
BMW Financial claims Nikolaidi was a nominee purchaser for the other defendants, who allegedly provided the Burnaby man with a $38,000 bank draft for the car and “conspired to cause injury to BMW by unlawfully converting, wrongfully detaining and securing export of the vehicle.”
In May 2018, BMW received a cheque for more than $57,000 from the numbered-company defendant for the balance of the purchase price, but Nikolaidi allegedly refused to reveal the vehicle’s location.
“The receipt of a third party cheque led BMW to suspect that the Vehicle had been transferred to a third party,” the claim states. “BMW attempted to use the vehicle’s GPS tracking equipment to determine the location of the vehicles. The GPS tracking equipment for the vehicle was non-responsive and failed to indicate the vehicle’s location. The failure of GPS tracking equipment to indicate a vehicle’s location is rare and unusual, and was further indication that the vehicle had been transferred or exported in breach of the agreement.”
BMW Financial seeks damages for conversion, fraudulent misrepresentation, conspiracy and breach of contract. The three other lawsuits level similar allegations against defendants Feng Yuan Li, Pacific Ocean Wellness & Beauty Ltd., Ya Lin Bu and Yong Li. The company claims the defendants breached lease and purchase agreements by transferring the vehicles without BMW’s consent, later trying to exercise options to purchase the vehicles with “suspicious” bank drafts.
The allegations have not been tested or proven in court and none of the defendants in any of the four lawsuits had filed responses by press time.