Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Canadian government freeze bank accounts in Arthur Porter fraud case

The headquarters of engineering giant SNC-Lavalin are seen in Montreal on March 26, 2012. Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press
Torstar News Service
The ongoing fraud and money laundering case against Dr. Arthur Porter and former executives with engineering giant SNC-Lavalin has prompted Canadian authorities to freeze bank accounts around the world and attempt to seize a half-dozen luxury properties, new court documents reveal.

The documents in support of the various forfeiture orders sought by Crown prosecutors include bank accounts in the name of Porter — who was head of the Montreal’s McGill University Health Centre — in the Bahamas, Sierra Leone, Canada and the United States, as well as others in Israel, Cyprus, Hong Kong in the name of an alleged co-conspirator, Yanai Elbaz.

Police say Porter, his wife Pamela, Elbaz and his brother Yohan Elbaz were the recipients of $22.5 million in bribes paid by executives with SNC-Lavalin to ensure they won the bidding competition to build a new Montreal super-hospital.

Among the others charged are former SNC-Lavalin president Pierre Duhaime and Riadh Ben Aïssa, the former head of the international construction division.

The case is believed to be the largest fraud in Canadian history and resulted in a guilty plea from Pamela Porter last month. Prosecutors said they had been able to recuperate cash and property valued at $5.5 million after the guilty plea, which will see her serve a sentence of two-years-less-a-day in jail.

The others alleged to have participated in the scheme have maintained their innocence, and a preliminary inquiry is set to be heard early this year.

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