Alleged superhospital fraudster arrested, charged and allowed to leave Canada
MONTREAL—Quebec's anti-corruption squad has snapped up another suspect in a case of fraud involving the McGill superhospital.
Police arrested Jeremy Morris Monday at Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau International Airport as he arrived from the Bahamas.
An administrator of an investment company called Sierra Asset Management, Morris appeared in court Tuesday afternoon to be charged with fraud, conspiracy, and dealing in stolen property.
Sierra had signed a contract with SNC-Lavalin in 2009 to help engineering giant SNC-Lavalin lobby to get the superhospital deal with the McGill University Health Centre.
Auditors later found that SNC had spent around $22.5 million as part of its contract with Sierra, but those auditors could not find proof that any work was actually done for that money.
On Tuesday, Morris’ lawyers made sure that their client could leave Canada after paying $75,000 in bail. The executive will either stay with his parents in the Bahamas or his wife and kids in Florida.
“It was a discretionary decision that was taken by the crown and we believe that the conditions we have put to Mr. Morris are sufficient to guarantee coming back to court,” said prosecutor Marie-Helene Giroux.
Two weeks ago, Quebec’s permanent anti-corruption unit issued arrest warrants for Morris and four other people, including former MUHC chief Arthur Porter, in connection with a multi-million dollar fraud case involving SNC-Lavalin and the superhospital.
Porter has said he is too sick from lung cancer treatment to travel to Montreal to meet with authorities.
A television station in the Bahamas interviewed Porter, who said he thinks the fraud he and others are accused of would have been extremely difficult to commit.
"I know the entire design was such that it would be almost impossible unless you got a coalition of 40 to 50 people to work together from two or three different agencies to be able to swing a process like that," said Porter.
Yanai Elbaz, Porter's former right-hand man, appeared in court two weeks ago and was released on $100,000 bail.
Former SNC-Lavalin president Pierre Duhaime, already facing charges for another case, has appeared in court, while another former SNC-Lavalin executive, Riadh Ben Aissa, is being held in Switzerland.
The next court date for Morris and his co-accused is May 23.