The son of a Canadian geologist jailed in Dubai after allegedly uncovering fraud in a gold company says the only way his father will get out of prison is if the Canadian government steps up its pressure on the United Arab Emirates.
A panel of Dubai judges on Tuesday rejected Andre Gauthier’s appeal on a technicality, according to Gauthier’s son, Alexis. He said his father, who has been detained off and on in the Middle East since December 2015, will remain in a Dubai prison indefinitely.
The Gauthier family says Andre was a whistleblower who alerted authorities in the United Arab Emirates to irregular dealings in a gold-trading company, Gold AE. But instead of being thanked for his troubles, he was arrested, charged and convicted with committing 73 counts in the very fraud he uncovered.
In an interview with The Canadian Press from Quebec City, Alexis said the three judges on Tuesday unanimously found his father not guilty on 11 charges. But due to the fact his father’s lawyer allegedly didn’t appeal the remaining 62 charges within the proper time period, Gauthier will remain in jail.
Alexis said he doesn’t understand how his father’s lawyer could be that incompetent and the family suspects foul play.
“We are extremely disappointed,” he said, after learning of the decision. “We can’t say we are surprised because the irregularities have multiplied in this case since the beginning. We seem to have the proof now that someone is trying to keep him there.”
Alexis said his father has spent almost $2 million in court fees since 2015 and the family doesn’t want to give another penny to the “corrupt Dubai justice system.” He is calling for an urgent meeting with Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, with whom he spoke last week.
He said Champagne needs to put political pressure on Emirati authorities. “They need to talk because that’s the only way this will stop.”
A representative from Global Affairs Canada was not immediately available for comment on Tuesday.
Radha Stirling, with the UK-based legal specialist group Detained in Dubai, has been following Gauthier’s case and working with the family. Stirling says the Quebecer from the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region was a “whistleblower” who was set up by the people who committed fraud against the gold company’s investors.
Three members of Gold AE were diverting cash out of the company illegally, she said. After Gauthier was hired to help find the fraud, the people behind the scam fled the UAE and then contacted investors in the company to blame it on the Canadian, she alleged.
Stirling said two Dubai court-appointed experts who analysed the facts in the case exonerated Gauthier of any wrongdoing. She said all 73 counts of fraud were connected and it was an “injustice” for the judges to clear Gauthier on 11 while maintaining the other 62.
“If you aren’t guilty of 11 cases then of course you won’t be guilty of the others because they are one of the same,” she said.
Stirling agreed that Canada must exert more pressure on the country. Other countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia and Malaysia have managed to secure the release of their citizens jailed unfairly in Dubai under similar circumstances, Stirling said.
“It’s either that Canada is not as forceful or influential as other countries, but I find that hard to believe,” she said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 24, 2019.
Latest worldwide spread of the coronavirus
Russia has tightened curbs in major cities as authorities blame the new Delta variant for spiking cases and deaths, while neighbouring Ukraine has registered its first two cases of the more infectious virus type.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals https://apac1.apps.cp.thomsonreuters.com/cms/?navid=1592404098 for a case tracker and summary of news
* The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has said the more contagious Delta variant, first identified in India, will represent 90% of all SARS-CoV-2 viruses circulating in the European Union by the end of August.
* Spain has vaccinated half of its 47 million population with at least one dose and nearly 32%, or over 15 million people, have been fully inoculated.
* The share of infections caused by the Delta variant of the coronavirus has doubled in Germany in a week and is likely to gain more traction over other variants.
* Greece will end the mandatory wearing of face masks outdoors and ease other remaining restrictions.
* Japan is suspending approval for companies to inoculate staff amid concerns that an increase in such applications will hamper smooth delivery of vaccines.
* Alcohol, high-fives and talking loudly will be banned for the reduced numbers of Olympic ticket holders allowed into venues.
* Australia’s largest city of Sydney reintroduced “soft touch” curbs to contain a widening outbreak of the Delta variant.
* A Brazilian Senate committee has formally approved a request to call representatives of Google, Facebook and Twitter to testify in an ongoing probe into the government’s handling of the pandemic.
* Canada will further relax border restrictions in the weeks to come as long as the science supports such a move, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.
* Federal authorities have seized at U.S. airports unauthorised versions of remdesivir destined for distribution in Mexico, the Wall Street Journal reported. [nL2N2O51U0]
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* South Africa’s health regulator said it had received documentation for China’s Sinopharm vaccine and will evaluate the data to assess the efficacy of the shot.
* Israel empowered health officials to quarantine anyone deemed to have been exposed to the especially infectious Delta variant.
* Bahrain will extend by three months a government support program for businesses hard hit by the pandemic.
* Rare cases of heart inflammation in adolescents and young adults are likely linked to vaccination with the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna shots, a group of doctors advising the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
* Vaccines made by AstraZeneca and the Pfizer-BioNTech alliance remain broadly effective against Delta and Kappa variants. [nL3N2O43IN]
* The University of Oxford said it was testing anti-parasitic drug ivermectin as a possible treatment for COVID-19.
* Wall Street and global equity markets were broadly higher on Wednesday after reassurances from U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell that the central bank is not rushing to hike interest rates, while European stocks remained under pressure. [MKTS/GLOB]
* A period of high inflation in the United States may last longer than anticipated but should still ease over time as the economy settles back to normal, two U.S. Federal Reserve officials said.
* Euro zone business growth accelerated at its fastest pace in 15 years in June as the easing of lockdown measures unleashed pent-up demand and drove a boom in the dominant services sector but also led to soaring price pressures.
(Compiled by Ramakrishnan M. and Juliette Portala; Edited by Arun Koyyur)
Canada’s M&A boom fuels hiring spree, higher pay
Record-breaking dealmaking in Canada is encouraging investment banks to beef up staffing, but the increased demand for bankers is forcing some to pay up in unique ways to attract new hires.
Canadian mergers and acquisitions (M&A) year to date surged to a record $206.5 billion and IPOs hit an all-time high of $5.6 billion, according to Refinitiv, after the pandemic crushed dealmaking in the first three quarters of 2020.
HSBC, JPMorgan Chase & Co and National Bank of Canada are expanding their M&A teams.
“It continues to be an active market with lots of active discussions with clients going on as well, and so that has absolutely spurred on a need to fortify the ranks within the teams,” said Scott Lampard, head of global banking for HSBC Bank Canada.
HSBC plans to boost overall investment banking headcount by 20%-25%, mainly at the analyst level to support pitching and executing deals, Lampard said.
With the pace of transaction expected to continue at pace, banks are paying more to hire and retain existing teams, offering a range of new services, like sending in a consultant to create the ideal home office, recruiters say.
“We’ve been doing this for nearly 20 years and we’ve never seen a market like this,” said Bill Vlaad, CEO at recruitment firm Vlaad and Company. “Everybody is scrambling,”
“Many of the banks have increased base salaries quite dramatically, mostly in 2021,” he said, adding salaries had increased 20%-40% across M&A roles.
“Now if you want to attract, you have to put something else on the table.”
To poach talent, banks are adding signing bonuses, extra vacation days, healthcare increases, special programs for mental wellness and home office perks, all tailored to individual requests, Vlaad said.
TD Securities, Barclays, CIBC World Markets are the top M&A advisers year to date. All three declined to comment on hiring plans.
Of the top deals announced this year, Rogers Communications Inc’s C$20 billion ($16.2 billion) bid for Shaw Communications Inc and Canadian National’s bid $33.6 billion offer for Kansas City Southern are the two biggest.
Despite the pandemic, five of the top six Canadian banks paid an average of C$3.1 billion ($2.50 billion) in total bonuses last year, up from C$2.9 billion ($2.34 billion) in 2019, an analysis of filings by Reuters showed.
Headcount at National Bank Finance will be up by four or five people in M&A versus the same time last year, David Savard, head of M&A at the bank, told Reuters.
That put the team at 28 for the large-cap M&A team and 10 for the mid-market team, he said, adding both areas were “booming”.
“There seems to be some pent-up demand for entrepreneurial-led companies and private companies doing M&A coming out of COVID,” he said.
David Rawlings, CEO for JPMorgan Canada, agreed headcount would be likely higher in the near future.
“We think activity will continue to be strong and are currently looking to selectively hire with a particular focus on senior diverse candidates,” said Rawlings.
($1 = 1.2453 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by Maiya Keidan; Editing by Denny Thomas and Lisa Shumaker)
French court overturns ruling saying sale of cannabidiol is illegal
France’s highest appeals court on Wednesday overturned a ruling that stores in the country can’t legally sell cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychotic compound related to cannabis that is being researched for a variety of medical applications.
Based on the free trade of goods within the European Union, the Cour de cassation ruled that judges could not find the sale of CBD in France illegal if it had been legally produced in a member state of the bloc.
The Court of Justice of the EU ruled last year that no national law can prohibit the sale of CBD legally produced in a member state, the French court also said.
“Without considering whether the substances seized had not been legally produced in another member state of the European Union, the court failed to provide a basis for its decision,” it said, referring to a ruling of a lower appeals court.
The Cour de cassation did not rule whether selling CBD in France was legal or not, and ordered a lower court to rule again on a case involving the owner of a shop selling CBD.
“We are happy”, CBD shop owner Mathieu Bensa, who was not involved in the case, told Reuters after the ruling.
“We did not understand why France was the last country in the European Union that had not given access to the sale of hemp plants”, he said.
Derived mainly from the hemp plant, CBD is increasingly used as a relaxant.
Cannabis stocks have attracted growing interest on world stock markets, particularly on the Toronto stock exchange after Canada became one of the first major economies to legalise the recreational use of marijuana.
Cannabis use is outlawed in France but the country has one of Europe’s highest consumption rates.
(Reporting by Matthieu Protard, Benoit Van Overstraeten and Ardee Napolitano; Editing by Mark Potter)
Latest worldwide spread of the coronavirus
Canada’s M&A boom fuels hiring spree, higher pay
Sinclair to lead Canadian women’s team in her fourth Olympics
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Europe kicks off vaccination programs | All media content | DW | 27.12.2020 – Deutsche Welle
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Business16 hours ago
Self-driving truck tech firm Embark to go public via $5.2 billion SPAC deal
Business15 hours ago
Your Education and Certificates Need to Align the Job Requirements
Economy15 hours ago
Canadian retail sales slide in April, May as COVID-19 shutdown bites
Business16 hours ago
4 Simple Reasons Why Doing Business With the Right Safety Equipment Supplier Matters
News14 hours ago
Canada Energy Regulator allows resumption of Trans Mountain oil project
Business13 hours ago
Interac: Canada’s Latest Payment Solution Phenomenon
Economy15 hours ago
Canadian dollar notches a 6-day high
News16 hours ago
Senate vote opens way for single event betting