Jul 9, 2021
Ousted Bridging Finance CEO cries foul over OSC probe
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The former chief executive officer of beleaguered private lender Bridging Finance Inc. is crying foul over how Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) staff handled testimony that he believed was being provided confidentially, but was ultimately released publicly, stating it amounts to an abuse of process.
According to documents released by the regulator Friday afternoon, David Sharpe is seeking a declaration from the OSC that its staff violated the Securities Act, as well as an order to quash the investigation. Sharpe also requested to have the testimony in question sealed by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and removed from the receiver’s website.
Bridging Finance was abruptly thrust into the spotlight at the end of April when it was pushed into receivership – under the control of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) – amid an OSC investigation into alleged mismanagement of funds, among numerous other alleged infractions. None of the allegations have been tested or proven.
Since then, Sharpe was ousted and hundreds of pages of material tied to the investigation have been posted online by PWC. That included the transcript of Sharpe’s examination by OSC Senior Forensic Accountant Daniel Tourangeau on Apr. 28, just a few days before PWC took control of the lender.
Crawley Mackewn Brush LLP, which is representing Sharpe, claimed in the application that he was unaware the testimony would be disclosed to the public. The law firm claims that subsequent media coverage was “presented in a manner that is both pejorative and irreparably prejudicial”, “fatally undermined the integrity of Staff’s investigation” and “potentially prejudiced the interests of investors by exacerbating negative media attention to Bridging Finance and its borrowers.”
A spokesperson for the OSC said in an emailed statement that the regulator’s enforcement staff intends to oppose Sharpe’s application.
The OSC has scheduled a hearing on the matter for July 22.