Allegations of insider trading | Innergex fires senior executive

Innergex fired its CFO Jean-François Neault after learning The print who was suspected of insider trading with a former vice president of the Caisse de depot et placement du Québec.

Updated on April 14

Hugo Joncas

Hugo Joncas
The print

Innergex’s chief executive ensures that the company was unaware of all of its senior executive’s problems with the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), which ransacked his home on January 22, 2020.

“We understood that there was a confidentiality order issued by the MFA,” Michel Letellier said in an interview. I was very surprised, but I would like to reiterate that Jean-François had no doubts or suspicions about his role in Innergex. He had done a good job ever since he got him. ”

The CEO, however, believes the Toronto-listed company had few other options.

“We are very focused on good governance, on transparency,” he said. Therefore, it is incompatible with our code of ethics that our CFO is being investigated for violation of the Autorité des marchés market regulations. That is why we had to thank Jean-François this week. ”

From Thursday Innergex entrusts the financial management to Jean Trudel, who has been Chief Investment and Development Officer since 2015.

Inside the information

The print On Monday he reported that a former executive of Private Placements at the Caisse, Justin Méthot, was raided in his office in January 2020. The former vice president in charge of investments in large companies allegedly disclosed inside information to Jean-Francois Neault in August 2019 , according to the sworn statements of the Authority.

The information concerned Colabor, a food retailer listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, and the imminent departure of its then CEO, Lionel Ettedgui.

According to the policeman of the financial markets, Jean-François Neault then divulged this information to a dozen people, several days before the release of the official statement.

Among them: Claude Gariépy, former CEO of Colabor. He would use this information to sell the stock before the announcement and “avoid a loss of several thousand dollars.”


PHOTO HUGO-SÉBASTIEN AUBERT, LA PRESSE ARCHIVE

Claude Gariépy, CEO of Colabor until 2018, with Jean-François Neault, who allegedly provided him with inside information.

From 2013 to 2018 the two men worked together at Colabor. Jean-François Neault held the position of Chief Financial Officer there, before moving to Innergex. He refused to answer questions for The print.

No charges were filed in this case. The investigation file has been in the hands of MFA prosecutors since last December.

The former vice president of the Caisse defends its integrity

As for Justin Méthot, Thursday came out of his silence with a press release. The former vice president of the Caisse assures that he has always fulfilled his duties “with professionalism, rigor and irreproachable ethics”.

“My duties at Caisse required me to handle a large amount of highly sensitive information on a daily basis, needed to make rigorous decisions,” he points out. I believe I have fulfilled this duty with the utmost integrity and I am proud of it. ”

Justin Méthot assures that he knows nothing of the sales of shares made by the information he would have divulged about Colabor. “And therefore, neither the Fund nor I obviously benefited either directly or indirectly from these operations”, reads the press release.


PHOTO FROM LINKEDIN

Justin Methot

Former vice president in charge of corporate investments, then head of relationship investments, Justin Méthot left the Caisse in April 2020, three months after the MFA raided his office.

“This investigation has been dragging on for over 27 months with imaginable consequences on my personal and family life,” notes his statement. Despite the passage of time, I would like to remind you that I am not accused of anything. ”

Justin Méthot adds that he is “subject to a strict confidentiality order” until the charges are presented or the investigation is abandoned. “When this order is lifted, I will have the freedom to rectify the facts using the means at my disposal in order to restore my reputation which is severely tarnished by these articles. ”

Since September 2020 he has been executive vice president and chief executive officer of Eastman Capital, Pierre Karl Péladeau’s private wealth management company.

No comments from the Fund

The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec still refuses to provide details of the two searches that the Autorité des marchés financiers carried out in its offices in January 2020.

Following the visit of the stock market watchdog, the law firm Osler conducted an internal investigation to shed light on the events, according to an internal document that The print obtained. La Caisse (CDPQ), however, refuses to disclose the results.

“The CDPQ cannot comment on any aspect of this investigation by the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), which targets individuals and not the CDPQ or its transactions,” said Maxime Chagnon, head of global media relations. in an email to The print. The CDPQ has offered its full cooperation to MFA in this dossier. ”

According to the Authority’s declarations, part of the elements seized in the offices of the Fund are still inaccessible to the investigators because the lawyer-client privilege has been invoked.

Finance Minister Eric Girard, head of the Caisse, simply says he has “full confidence” in the MFA and in the collaboration of the institutional investor.

our reporter if you have information on this investigation or other matters concerning the Caisse de depot et placement du Québec

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