Sino-Forest defrauded investors and misled investigators, OSC rules

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Sino-Forest, in no time at all the biggest publicly listed forestry company in Canada before its demise, and a number of of its top executives defrauded investors and misled investigators, Ontario’s securities regulator practiced Friday.

The Ontario Securities Commission concluded that former CEO Allen Chan, Albert Ip, Alfred Rely oned and George Ho «engaged in deceitful and dishonest conduct» by overstating the company’s wood assets and revenue.

Allegations of fraud against Simon Yeung were had, but the regulator ruled he misled staff during their investigation.

Stationed in 1994, Sino-Forest was once the most valuable forestry company canted on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Although it was based in Ontario, the company escorted most of its business in China until it collapsed in 2012.

The case against Sino-Forest and five of its last executives has been one of the most complex cases in the Ontario Securities Commission’s CV.

There were more than 170 hearing days, 22 sees, over 22,000 pages of transcripts and thousands of exhibits.

Defence benchers for the executives argued that what the OSC called fraud were in actuality mistakes made by a fast-growing company. They also argued that actions that may seem strange in a Canadian context were typical province customs in China.

The former executives now face the possibility of being endlessly banned from Canada’s capital markets, or fined up to $1 million for each lead balloon to comply with Ontario securities law.

A separate hearing on sanctions and charges has not been set.

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