Canada lax on fraudsters, Teachers says

Many Canadian politicians are simply "out of their league" when they come up against complicated white-collar crimes…We've become essentially a country, a province, of health care and education. Mainly health care, because older people vote. That's the focus and the rest is irrelevant…

The Globe and Mail
September 12, 2007

Canada lax on fraudsters, Teachers says
Lori McLeod

Canada is failing everyday investors through a lack of enforcement against white collar crime, says Claude Lamoureux, chief executive officer of Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan.

Speaking at a financial reporting conference yesterday, Mr. Lamoureux, who will retire from his position at Teachers in December, said the country has a poor track record of bringing corporate fraudsters to justice.

"Legislators are blind to the issue because it is a crime that doesn't leave any blood, just the widows and orphans," Mr. Lamoureux said in response to a question asked following his speech at a conference hosted by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants.

Since it was launched four years ago, for example, the RCMP's capital markets fraud investigation team has managed just two convictions, both against the same person.

And although the team has announced a number of investigations in prominent corporate scandals, these have not led to any convictions.

This compares with well over 1,000 convictions by the U.S. Fraud Task Force in the past five years.

"Politicians announce these things to great fanfare. The unfortunate thing is that there's no follow up," Mr. Lamoureux said in an interview after his speech. Many Canadian politicians are simply "out of their league" when they come up against complicated white-collar crimes, he added.

Teachers sued Nortel over its financial disclosure in U.S. civil court, one of two cases which resulted in a total settlement of $2.45-billion (U.S.) for investors last year. Nortel did not admit any wrongdoing when it made the settlement. It's ironic the Canadian pension plan had to go to the U.S. to get justice for Canadian shareholders, Mr. Lamoureux said.

"We've become essentially a country, a province, of health care and education. Mainly health care, because older people vote. That's the focus and the rest is irrelevant," he said.

Mr. Lamoureux, who has been in the financial services industry for more than 40 years, will retire from Teachers Dec. 1. He will continue to work with the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance, an organization he founded with Montreal-based money manager Stephen Jarislowsky in 2002. The group represents Canadian institutional investors, and pushes for positive change at public companies.

"What we now want to create is an advisory group of former CEOs and people who have been on boards and who have a lot of experience, and can help the coalition," Mr. Lamoureux said.


Brought to you by WikidFranchise.org

Risks: Canada, Ontario lax on fraudsters, Canada: An unwise place to invest, Corporate governance, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, RCMP, Incompetent or corrupt: for the small business investor, the outcome is the same, Illusion of government oversight, Confidence, Canada, 20070912 Canada lax

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License