Montréal - The Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) has launched penal proceedings against five individuals involved in the Carrefour matter for conspiring to manipulate the market and is seeking a total of $422,000 in fines.
Five individuals charged
More specifically, the AMF has brought two charges against Gérald Parkin, President and majority shareholder of Monimpex International Ltd., whom it claims conspired with Claude ValadeRespondent Claude Valade should not be confused with Claude Valade of Primerica Financial Services Ltd. and PFSL Investments Canada Ltd. in Laval, holder of certificate No. 162 214, who is not affected by this decision., Serge Belval, Bartolomeo Torino and Alain Lefrançois to attempt to influence the market price or the value of the securities of three corporations by means of unfair, improper or fraudulent practices toward investors. The AMF is seeking a total of $100,000 in fines from him.
Claude Valade, also known as Claude Gratton, is facing eight charges. The AMF claims that he conspired with the other respondents in this matter to manipulate the market (2 counts) and illegally acted as a securities adviser (6 counts). The AMF is seeking a total of $160,000 from him. This is not Claude Valade's first altercation with the AMF. In 2006 he was fined $30,000 for offences related to illegal practice as a securities dealer and illegal distributions in the Clubs d'investissement HT affair.
Serge Belval, also known as Sylvain Bastien, is facing four counts, including one for conspiring to manipulate the market and three for illegal practice as an adviser. The AMF is seeking a total of $62,000 in fines from him.
As for Bartolomeo Torino and Alain Lefrançois, a dealing representative, they are charged with one count for conspiring to manipulate the market and the AMF is seeking $50,000 in fines from each of them.
Two schemes to manipulate securities
The AMF's investigation shows that there were two financial subschemes designed to manipulate the securities of Zoloto, Primex and Nessa using funds from locked-in retirement accounts of Québec investors.
The investors were solicited through classified ads published in local newspapers or on the Internet. They were told they would receive a cash payment, sometimes in the form of a loan, of up to 55% of the value of their retirement savings. In exchange, the investors transferred their retirement savings to a self-directed brokerage account and agreed not to trade in it. The investors were told that shares traded on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange would be purchased through their self-directed account.
The five respondents are covered by various orders issued in December 2009 (pdf - 50 KB)This link will open in a new window which prohibited them from pursuing activities as securities advisers and from carrying on any activity, directly or indirectly, in respect of transactions in securities. The orders also froze the funds, securities and other assets held by them.
In February 2011, the Integrated Market Enforcement Team (IMET) also filed charges against eleven individuals suspected of being involved in the Carrefour matter, including Claude Valade.
The Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) is the regulatory and oversight body for Québec's financial sector.
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