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Bridging Finance's largest borrower used fabricated investment documents to secure loans – The Globe and Mail

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Philanthropist Sean McCoshen at a fundraiser for Diversity Gardens attend the Leo Mol Garden Event in 2019.PHIL HOSSACK

Bridging Finance Inc.’s largest borrower used fabricated documents when posting collateral, falsely suggesting to the private lender he had nearly $180-million in investments, The Globe and Mail has learned.

Sean McCoshen, the founder of a Bridging-backed company that proposed to build a railway from Alberta to Alaska, provided the private lender with a 2017 account statement showing he had investments with the Carlyle Group, the U.S. private equity giant.

The statement showed that Mr. McCoshen and his ex-wife held millions of units in two infrastructure funds purportedly offered by Carlyle. The statement, dated Dec. 22, 2017, shows that the units had a total value of $104-million. The next year Mr. McCoshen valued the Carlyle units at $179.2-million in a personal net worth statement.

The two funds listed in the purported Carlyle statement, however, do not exist and have never existed.

The Globe supplied Carlyle with the account statement to verify its authenticity and a spokesperson replied in an e-mail: “The funds in the document are not funds Carlyle ever managed or sponsored.”

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Regulatory filings show no record of Carlyle offering either of the two funds listed in the document, which are identified as the “Infrastructure Americas” fund and the “Infrastructure Mid East Africa 1.” Carlyle launched its first U.S.-focused infrastructure fund in 2006, some eight years after Mr. McCoshen claimed he received his units in the “Infrastructure Americas” fund.

A lawyer for Mr. McCoshen declined to comment.

The revelation raises more tough questions about what due diligence Bridging performed on Mr. McCoshen, and how much Bridging’s business practices were scrutinized by the many Bay Street institutions that promoted the company’s products. It’s unclear how much Bridging relied on the purported accounts when it lent to Mr. McCoshen, but the fictitious collateral is certainly more bad news for the 26,000 investors in Bridging’s funds – the vast majority of whom are retail investors waiting to learn what can be recovered from the company’s portfolio.

In April, an Ontario judge put Bridging under the control of a receiver at the request of the Ontario Securities Commission. The OSC alleged that Bridging, which managed more than $2-billion, engaged in “serious misconduct” with respect to several loans, including a number tied to Mr. McCoshen.

Bridging’s largest and most troubled loan is to the Alaska-Alberta Railway Development Corp., or A2A, a project still at the conceptual stage that aspired to ship bitumen from the northern part of the province to ports in Alaska. The company, which was the brainchild of Mr. McCoshen, owes Bridging more than about $208-million and has no hard assets. Bridging also had an equity stake in A2A that it valued at $109-million. In all, Mr. McCoshen has ties to more than $500-million worth of Bridging’s loans, about one-quarter of its assets under management.

David and Natasha Sharpe, of Bridging Finance Inc., in the company’s downtown Toronto offices in 2019.Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Bridging’s receiver, PricewaterhouseCoopers LP, declined to comment for this story. A source close to the case said PwC was aware of issues around Mr. McCoshen’s collateral and that the matter will be addressed in a coming report to the court. The Globe is not identifying the source because the individual did not have authorization to speak publicly about the matter.

The falsified collateral is not the first time Mr. McCoshen has left business associates with the impression he had close ties to Carlyle, which manages US$293-billion on behalf of major institutional investors and wealthy families.

When the OSC first interviewed Bridging executives in October, 2020, investigators asked the company’s then-chief executive officer, David Sharpe, what he knew about Mr. McCoshen’s background. Mr. Sharpe replied: “Sean McCoshen is a businessperson who has had some solid success. He was a former employee of Carlyle Group in, I believe, Washington, D.C.” Carlyle, however, says it has no record of ever employing Mr. McCoshen.

Mr. Sharpe, who allegedly received undisclosed payments totalling $19.5-million from one of Mr. McCoshen’s companies and has since been fired from Bridging, declined to comment for this story.

According to the document Mr. McCoshen supplied to Bridging, the investments could not be cashed out for decades. The account statement says Mr. McCoshen received his stake in the supposed Carlyle funds at three points in 1998, 1999 and 2000. Public records show that during those years, Mr. McCoshen was the president of a Winnipeg-based clothing company, Brawd Inc., which manufactured jeans and other rave-themed clothing.

One of Mr. McCoshen’s next companies, the Usand Group, published promotional material that said he previously worked as an investment banker who specialized in infrastructure. A brochure for Usand said he spent three years in Dubai working with “a large multinational private equity firm” – which is not identified by name – building a “billion-dollar grain terminal.”

With A2A, his most recent venture, Mr. McCoshen again tried to establish connections to Carlyle, enlisting a former Carlyle managing director to help him get the project off the ground. Robert Dove, who helped launch Carlyle’s U.S. infrastructure fund in 2006, worked for A2A as a consultant and was touted in the project’s promotional material. Mr. Dove retired from Carlyle in 2017.

There is nothing to suggest that Mr. Dove was aware of the fictitious account statement. In a statement to The Globe, Mr. Dove said: “I have no knowledge or information about whether Mr. McCoshen was, or is, an investor with Carlyle.”

The fabricated Carlyle accounts are also not the first time that Bridging was supplied with allegedly falsified collateral from a borrower.

Companies owned by Gary Ng, another businessman from Winnipeg, borrowed a total of about $100-million from Bridging between 2018 and 2019. The Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada has since alleged that Mr. Ng supplied falsified documents, which vastly inflated his net worth, in support of one of those loans.

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Singapore REITs Double Their Overseas Investment to $12 Billion – BNN

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(Bloomberg) — Singapore’s property managers are accelerating their push abroad as a slow reopening and diminishing returns at home force them to look for growth opportunities elsewhere.

Foreign acquisitions by real estate investment trusts in the city-state jumped to an all-time high of 61 last year, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The total value of such deals also more than doubled from 2020 to $12.3 billion.

Property managers in Singapore — which boasts the most REITs in Asia outside of Japan — have long shown global ambitions, with overseas investments picking up during the pandemic. But a limited reopening coupled with the anticipated omicron surge is adding impetus to this drive, even as investor concerns over a slowing recovery grow.

“Singapore’s commercial REITs may continue to rely on overseas M&A to achieve income growth in 2022, especially if omicron brings more uncertainty on further easing of social and traveling curbs to boost retail and office leasing demand in the country,” said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Patrick Wong.  

A $3.1 billion merger of Mapletree Commercial Trust with Mapletree North Asia Commercial Trust proposed last month is the latest in a series of moves that have seen managers long comfortable with a domestic presence favor a more global footprint. Also in December, another REIT targeting retail outlets in the city-state, CapitaLand Integrated Commercial Trust, made a foray into its second overseas market with office acquisitions in Australia.

Investors like the stability a local focus can offer, Sharon Lim, the chief executive officer of the manager of Mapletree Commercial to told reporters last month, but her trust needs to be better placed to take on new opportunities overseas and achieve “meaningful long-term expansion.” Lim’s REIT, which she described as the “last of the Mohicans” with only Singapore-centric assets will see its domestic holdings shrink to 51% within the new merged entity.

Increased Risks

Overseas diversification may alienate some investors, however, with Mapletree Commercial’s shares having declined more than 8% since the merger was announced. “Investors whose mandate demands only Singapore exposure may look at other counters,” said Krishna Guha, a senior analyst at Jefferies Financial Group Inc, adding that execution and foreign exchange risks may rise.

Still, while the CEO of Singapore’s tourism board Keith Tan has warned that a full recovery in visitor numbers is unlikely until 2025, a reopening dividend might yet emerge. Officials in the financial center have affirmed their determination to live with the virus and keep its borders open, while easing some restrictions, including allowing some workers back into offices.

Singapore’s latest property investment manager Capitaland Investment Ltd. — a spinoff of one of the country’s largest developers — said it will remain committed to local investments despite a growing foreign portfolio.

Singapore will continue to be a “core market” and is attracting strong interest from wealthy individuals, including a growing number of family offices, said CEO Lee Chee Koon in an emailed response to questions about its plans. “But given the physical growth constraints, the relative size of our Singapore business within our portfolio will become smaller over time, as we expand and deepen our interests in overseas markets.”

Investors have validated this strategy so far, with Capitaland Investment emerging as the second-best performer on the benchmark Straits Times Index since its trading debut in September last year, having advanced by over 21%.

The overseas growth fervor is unlikely to dim. A limited pool of good quality assets as well as increasing competition from global funds have also pushed yields lower, said Vijay Natarajan, a real estate analyst at RHB Research Institute. Capitaland’s Lee also expects stronger Asian-based competition to emerge over time.

Instead, deep liquidity pools in overseas markets like the U.K., U.S. and Australia, as well as more alluring freehold and longer lease terms will maintain the draw of markets abroad, said Natarajan. “We expect this trend of overseas acquisitions to continue.”

Footnotes to second chart: 

  • Chart displays % of foreign AUM of top eight REITs by market capitalization
  • Excluded names are Capitaland Integrated Commercial Trust, created through a merger in 2020, while Mapletree Commercial Trust and Frasers Logistics & Commercial Trust are pure geographical plays
  • Mapletree REITs’ financial years end in March (E.g. For FY 2020: March 2021 rather than Dec. 2020)

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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Ontario investment to add 300 student, 88 child care spaces in London, Ont. – Globalnews.ca

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The Ontario government says it’s investing nearly $10 million to build and improve two London, Ont., schools.

In a release issued Saturday, the provincial government said the investment will aim to support the creation of 300 student spaces and 88 licensed child care spaces.

Read more:

COVID-19: TVDSB families rallying to buy additional HEPA filters for schools

The first project involves $7.2 million in improvements to Eagle Heights Public School at 284 Oxford St. W. It will add 300 new elementary student spaces.

The other project will see the government provide $2.7 million for a new child care centre at Northeast London Elementary School at a London site to be acquired.

This project includes adding 88 child care spaces, an infant room, two toddler rooms and two preschool rooms.

Read more:

COVID-19: London rapid test site will no longer test school-aged children, TVFHT says

“The projects are part of a provincewide investment of more than $600 million to support new school and child care spaces,” the statement read. “The overall investment will support 78 school and child care related projects.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Disclosures Show Dr. Fauci’s Household Made $1.7 Million In 2020, Including Income, Royalties, Travel Perks And Investment Gains – Forbes

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Last night, U.S. Senator Roger Marshall received Dr. Anthony Fauci’s unredacted FY2020 financial disclosures. The release following a heated Senate exchange between Fauci and Marshall which concluded with Fauci called the senator a “moron.”

The financial disclosures contain a wealth of previously unknown information. For example, the Fauci household’s net worth exceeds $10.4 million.

During the pandemic year of 2020, their household income, perks and benefits, and unrealized gains totaled $1,782,807 — including federal income and benefits of $868,812; outside royalties and travel perks totaling $119,626; and investment accounts increasing by $794,369.

Here are the numbers as compiled by the auditors at OpenTheBooks.com, an organization I lead. This analysis used previously known information plus the newly released disclosures.

Investment Income: $794,369

Disclosures show $794,369 in gains in the Fauci stock, bond, and money market portfolio during 2020. The total value of Dr. Fauci’s investment account was $8.4 million and his wife’s investments totaled another $2.1 million.

These funds were held in a mix of trust, retirement, and college education accounts. Fauci has an IRA worth $638,519 (up $42,291); a defined benefit brokerage account totaling $2,403,522 (up $241,418); and a revocable trust worth $5,295,898 (up $342,694). His wife’s revocable trust is worth $1,962,819 (up $156,123) and an IRA totaling $120,277 (up $11,843).

Some on the right have speculated that Fauci may have profited off the pandemic. The disclosures show that he’s invested in fairly broadly targeted mutual funds, with no reported holdings of individual stocks.

Fauci’s disclosures show that he owns a stake in a San Francisco restaurant, Jackson Fillmore, worth between $1,000 and $15,000: but received no income from the restaurant in FY2020 (or in FY2019).

Previously, NIH had released heavily redacted financial disclosures of Dr. Fauci. Redactions included the fund balances, so a net worth analysis was impossible until now.

Salaries: $668,312

Dr. Fauci is the director of the National Institutes of Allergies and Infectious Diseases and his wife Christine Grady is the chief bio-ethicist at the National Institutes of Health.  

Background: Fauci earned $434,312 in cash compensation (FY2020) outearning all 4.3 million federal employees including the president and four-star generals in the U.S. military. Between 2010 and 2020, Dr. Fauci earned cash compensation of $3.7 million from his federal employer. Review Fauci’s ten-year salary history in my previous column published at Forbes.

Fauci’s wife, Christine Grady is the chief bio-ethicist at the National Institutes of Health and made $234,284 in FY2020, as disclosed by FOIA to OpenTheBooks.com in August 2021. Grady’s FY2019 pay was also $234,284 and since 2015, Grady made $1.3 million in cash compensation.

However, Fauci’s financial disclosures only show that Grady made $176,000 for FY2020.

NIH does still not disclose Fauci’s current salary (FY2022) or last year’s salary (FY2021), despite comment requests for the information. Therefore, Fauci earned an estimated total of roughly $900,000 during the period.

Perks And Pension Benefits: Est. $200,500

Federal employees have a lucrative amount of paid time off, subsidized healthcare, pension benefits and a myriad of other perquisites. For example, after just three-years, a rank-and-file federal employee receives 44 days of paid time off. Dr. Fauci has held a federal job for 55 years.

A good faith estimate of the taxpayer cost of those benefits is 30-percent multiplied by the salary amount for Dr. Fauci and his wife.

Background: In December, published at Forbes, Fauci stands to reap a golden parachute retirement pension estimated at $350,000 per year, the highest in federal history. With cost of living increases, Fauci would receive over $1 million during his first three years of retirement.

Royalties And Professional Reimbursements: $106,328

Disclosures show that Dr. Fauci edits the medical textbook, Harrison’s Principals of Internal Medicine and serves on the board of the publisher, McGraw Hill. In 2020, Fauci received $100,000 as an editor of the publication. In July 2020, Fauci also received $6,328 for a six-day trip to La Jolla, CA to attend a board meeting of McGraw Hill, the publisher.

Background: OpenTheBooks filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to get a copy of all royalties paid to current and retired NIH scientists since 2005. When NIH would not release the information, a federal lawsuit was filed in October with Judicial Watch and production is scheduled to start on February 1st.

Gifts And Travel Reimbursements: $13,298

Galas: Fauci and his wife collected $8,100 to attend three virtual galas.

Here is the breakdown: $5,000 in for the Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) “Ripple of Hope” gala in December 2020. $1,600 to attend “An Evening Of Hope” virtual event in April 2020 and $1,500 to attend a “Prepared For Life” virtual gala in October 2020.

When Fauci was named Federal Employee Of The Year at the 2020 Samuael J. Heyman Service To America Medals awards program he was paid $5,198 for the virtual star-studded event.

Background: Fauci’s FY2021 disclosure is scheduled for release in May. The disclosure should contain interesting information. For example, in January 2021, as reported by NPR, Fauci received a $1 million prize for the prestigious Dan David Prize affiliated with Tel Aviv University for “speaking truth to power.”

Most likely Fauci kept $900,000 of that prize with 10-percent awarded to Fauci-picked scholarship winners.

Comment was requested from Dr. Fauci and NIH; updates forthcoming with any response.

Further Reading:

No, Fauci’s Records Aren’t Available. Why Won’t NIH Immediately Release Them? Published January 12, 2022 | Forbes

Dr. Anthony Fauci’s Golden Parachute Will Exceed $350,000 Per Year – The Largest in U.S. Federal Government History Published December 28, 2021 | Forbes

Dr. Anthony Fauci’s Little Known Biodefense Work. It’s How He Became The Highest Paid Federal Employee. Published October 20, 2021 | Forbes

Dr. Anthony Fauci: The Highest Paid Employee In The Entire U.S. Federal Government Published January 21, 2021 | Forbes

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