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Yellowknife businessman charged with fraud

A scene from a 360 film projected onto a wall outside the Northern Sky Films dome theatre in Center Ice Plaza. Emelie Peacock/Cabin RadioA scene from a 360 film projected onto a wall outside the dome theatre in Center Ice Plaza
A scene from a 360 film projected onto a wall outside the Northern Sky Films dome theatre in 2020, while it was operational inside Yellowknife's Center Ice Plaza. Emelie Peacock/Cabin Radio

A Yellowknife businessman is facing criminal charges over allegations that he misappropriated a business loan worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Liang Chen is charged with defrauding Shengteng “Tony” Wang of more than $5,000 and laundering the proceeds of crime.

Yellowknife RCMP said earlier this month they had arrested one person in connection with a fraud investigation related to Northern Sky Films, a Yellowknife company that offered a dome theatre and marketed itself to tourists.

Police alleged one business partner had funnelled $250,000 from a Business Development Bank of Canada loan, intended to support Northern Sky Films, into a personal account.

RCMP said their investigation had been ongoing since 2021. At the time, police did not name the person arrested and said charges were pending. Details of the charges were obtained from court documents on Tuesday.



Liang Chen at the Cabin Radio studios in August 2019
Liang Chen at the Cabin Radio studios in August 2019. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio

Northern Sky Films, which entrepreneur Wang opened in Yellowknife’s Center Ice Plaza in early 2020, featured a 360-degree dome theatre and virtual reality arcade.

The website for Northern Sky Films now states the business is permanently closed.

A post published on its Facebook page late last month alleged the firm was closing for good as “a bad guy used the company” to “take a big loan from a certain bank for enriching himself.”

Chen is next due in court regarding the criminal charges on November 14.



Separate civil case ongoing

Chen, his company CL Pacific Immigration Consulting, and Northern Sky Films Inc are separately named in an NWT Supreme Court civil suit filed in November by the Business Development Bank of Canada, or BDC, as was previously reported by the CBC.

That lawsuit alleges Chen and the two companies defaulted on the terms of the $250,000 loan and, despite the bank demanding payment in April 2021, BDC is seeking $269,671.32 that it says is still owed.

In a statement of defence filed in response, Northern Sky Films alleges Chen hid the business loan’s existence from Wang – who is now the company’s sole director and shareholder – and defrauded him. That statement further alleges that Chen “unjustly enriched himself” and breached his fiduciary duty as a director of Northern Sky Films.

“Wang is an innocent stranger to all this and has reported the matter to the RCMP,” the document states.

The company is seeking to be removed from the lawsuit and claims it has suffered injury, loss and damage in the amount of $269,671.32 – the sum BDC says it is owed.

Entrepreneur Tony Wang at the entrance of the Northern Sky Films dome theatre in 2020. Emelie Peacock/Cabin Radio

So far, none of the criminal or civil allegations against Chen have been proven in court. Cabin Radio was unable to reach Chen for comment.

Wang – who initially hired Chen to help him immigrate from China, according to court documents – has previously sued Chen.

He alleged Chen failed to repay a $50,000 investment deposit and the equivalent of $75,000 in Chinese currency he had agreed to exchange for Canadian dollars. Chen filed a countersuit and statement of defence in response to that suit, but told the CBC he was unable to find a lawyer to defend him and pursue the counterclaim.

In 2021, the NWT Supreme Court awarded judgement to Wang in the case.