Insider trading allegations | The AMF is suing a former vice-president of the Caisse de depot

The Autorité des Marchés Financiers is suing a former vice president of the Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec for insider trading related to the Colabor Group.

Posted at 12:39pm

Hugo Joncas

Hugo Joncas
The press

Justin Méthot, vice president of private equity until April 2020, was responsible for investments in large companies. He is accused of leaking confidential information about the grocer in which the Caisse has a stake.

The press reported in April that the Securities and Exchange Commission conducted two searches at the Caisse in January 2020 in connection with these events.

The Authority (AMF) has also filed seven charges against Jean-François Neault for forwarding this information. The former CFO of renewable energy producer Innergex was fired on April 14 following our revelations.

Photo Hugo-Sébastien AUBERT, LA PRESSE archive

Prior to Innergex, Jean-François Neault (right) was Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Colabor. He is also being prosecuted here, accompanied by the former CEO of the grocer Claude Gariépy.

Claude Gariépy, Colabor’s ex-CEO from 2012 to 2018, is accused of exploiting privileged information to resell his stake in the company to avoid a loss.

The press had leaked the agency’s allegations back in the spring, based on investigator affidavits filed with the Supreme Court.

Confidential information to a friend

In August 2019, Méthot learned of the resignation of Lionel Ettedgui, then CEO of Colabor. He would then have told his friend Neault at least four days before the company’s official press release.

Neault would then have quickly shared it with several other people, including Gariépy. The grocer’s former boss would then have sold “all of the common stock of Colabor that he owned as soon as he learned the information,” according to a press release issued by the AMF on Wednesday.

In doing so, he would have “avoided a loss due to the company’s price decline after the announcement”.

Justin Méthot did not respond to calls from The press. Jean-François Neault hung up as soon as our journalist showed up. We could not reach Claude Gariépy.

In a press release published in April, Méthot assured that he had always performed his functions at the Caisse “with professionalism, rigor and impeccable ethics”. He affirmed that he had never profited from transactions, “neither directly nor indirectly”.

“These investigations are dragging on […] with the consequences you can imagine for my personal and family life,” he added.

long investigation

The authority only had access to the confiscated evidence “on September 28, 2021”, 20 months after its search of the Caisse offices, she reported The press in April, based on court filings.

The delays were due in particular to Méthot’s and the Fund’s request for “professional secrecy on the part of the lawyer regarding the items seized”.

It was therefore necessary to verify whether the documents seized contained information covered by the attorney-client privilege protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms of Canada.

A representative of the authority specifies in his statement that Justin Méthot “resigned definitively”, but does not say anything about the position of the Caisse in this regard.

Manager for Pierre Karl Peladeau

After the AMF search of his office, Méthot left the Caisse, according to his LinkedIn profile. In September 2020, he became senior vice president and managing director of Eastman Capital, Pierre Karl Péladeau’s wealth management company.

The press was unable to gather comments from Quebecor’s CEO prior to the publication of this article.

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