JITEC: THE NEVER-ENDING STORY

Cousineau, Sophie

The Quebec Provincial Police (QPP) has completed its investigation into the history of the "bribe", the term used in its records. No charges of Bribery of a Public Official were brought against Herbert Black or Paul Trudeau, despite the unequivocal confession of the latter. During the grievance hearing on the dismissal of Paul Trudeau, counsel for the Commission des valeurs mobilières du Québec (CVMQ) was nevertheless convinced that charges would be laid from one day to the other."I talked to people from the QPP (...) and charges are about to be made," said Claire Brassard in February 2003. According to Linda Bertrand, agent and spokeswoman for the Quebec Provincial Police, the investigation, once completed, was entrusted to the Crown prosecutor Pierre Lévesque.

Reached by telephone, he only vaguely remembers the folder. "I do not feel obliged to justify my decisions to you," said Pierre Lévesque. The prosecutor, however, specified that in 99% of cases where there is no charge, the evidence is considered insufficient to obtain a conviction. The CVMQ, which became the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), had also completed its investigation, although its spokesman had initially told La Presse Business it was still investigating the JITEC case as well as the bribe. In October 2004, the AMF files charges against Benoît Laliberté and two brokers. The former President of JITEC faces 48 charges. He is subject to fines of nearly $1.8 million.

The trading activities of Herbert Black, however, do not experience the slightest reproach. And it is not because they have not been examined. "Mr. Black is involved in activities of JITEC, at the very least in the regard of the trading of shares, and that is exactly the purpose of the investigation conducted by the Montreal Stock Exchange and the CVMQ," Jean Lorrain, the former Director of Compliance of the CVMQ, testified under oath. All those present at the arbitration hearing had deducted that Herbert Black was targeted by the investigation of the AMF. When the question was raised, however, Jean Lorrain took everything back. "I will not confirm or deny Mr. Black is under investigation (...) I cannot do so without violating the law that requires my confidentiality."

An inside source says that the CVMQ will interrogate Herbert Black after they learned that Paul Trudeau had received a bribe from him. "We were tricked,” they said. “We said to ourselves that we wouldn't touch on this aspect right away and we'll come back to it later, but there was never a follow-up. The case was shelved.”

Today the AMF refused to comment on the JITEC case, which is still before the courts, as was stated by spokesman, Philippe Roy. From its side, the Montreal Stock Exchange has not responded to the investigation to which Jean Lorrain referred, nor to the complaint filed by Benoît Laliberté.

His spokesman, Jean-Charles Robillard, even says that there is no trace of this file. As for Paul Trudeau, he successfully challenged his dismissal. However, the CVMQ appealed the judge’s decision. "We maintain that it is a criminal act that requires at least a dismissal," said Pierre Godin in Commerce Magazine in January 2004, when he presided over the CVMQ on an interim basis.

Finally, a settlement agreement was reached. The CVMQ has agreed to pay him his salary until his retirement in December 2006, provided that Paul Trudeau never returns to the office.