Orders Issued Against Aquablue International, Aquablue Spring Water International Inc and Manuel Da Sylva

Decisions and Freeze and cease trade orders Securities

Montréal – At the request of the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), the Bureau de décision et de révision (the "Bureau") issued a decision on March 5, 2010 ordering Manuel Da Silva not to dispose of the funds, securities or other assets in his possession. As well, the Bureau has ordered Aquablue International, Aquablue Spring Water International Inc. and Manuel Da Silva not to carry on any activity in respect of transactions in securities, in particular, the distribution of the shares and debt securities of Aquablue International and Aquablue Spring Water International Inc. The BDR has also ordered Manuel Da Silva not to pursue activities as an adviser.

The AMF alleges that Aquablue International, Aquablue Spring Water International Inc. and Manuel Da Silva were carrying on illegal distribution activities.

In its decision, the Bureau stated that it was particularly concerned about the allegations and facts presented by the AMF:

  • The shares of the various companies were distributed without a prospectus approved by the AMF or a prospectus exemption;
  • Manuel Da Silva acted as an intermediary for substantially all of the distributions in dispute without being registered with the AMF as a securities dealer, adviser or representative;
  • On numerous occasions, investors made payments directly to Manuel Da Silva, who deposited the funds in his personal account and transferred only a small portion of these funds to Aquagold or Aquablue. In one case, he used the funds to reimburse a large personal debt;
  • Manuel Da Silva occasionally made highly exaggerated claims about the expected profits on the shares he sold;
  • In October 2009, Manuel Da Silva was accused of fraud in the Court of Québec (Penal Division) and ordered to pay damages to one of the victims;
  • An officer of Aquagold discovered that Manuel Da Silva had misappropriated $400,000 in corporate funds; this resulted in his dismissal from the board of directors;
  • Manuel Da Silva made representations to potential investors about projects to sell bottled water in China, the acquisition of a bottling plant in Smith Falls, Ontario, and an exchange listing of the shares sold to investors, whereas it was highly unlikely that the projects would be carried out.

In its request, the AMF highlighted the importance of protecting Québec and foreign investors and ensuring market efficiency.

The Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) is the regulatory and oversight body for Québec’s financial sector.

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