Police seize Griffiths shares after search of law office

Police seize Griffiths shares after search of law office by Carrie Tait and Jacquie McNish, February 22, 2012, The Globe and Mail
The RCMP has seized millions of Griffiths Energy International Inc. shares after searching law firm Norton Rose’s Calgary office Tuesday, part of an effort by authorities to recoup funds tied to the company’s bribery case. Griffiths Energy, a Calgary oil and gas company, last month pleaded guilty to bribing foreign officials from Chad, and now police are trying to recover the cash and shares tied to the crime. The seized 3.2 million “founders shares,” worth over $20-million, belonged to two people – the wife of Chad’s former ambassador to Canada and a man who was once their children’s spiritual teacher. Norton Rose had the stock certificates in its possession in its capacity as Griffiths Energy’s former counsel, according to documents filed in court this week.

The search and seizure broadens the fallout of the landmark case against Griffiths Energy. The oil and gas company, founded by the late Bay Street banker Brad Griffiths and two of his associates, paid a $10.35-million fine after admitting it bribed Chadian officials as it sought to acquire oil properties in Chad. With that conviction in hand, the RCMP is now pursuing others linked to corruption case. No new charges have been laid, the court document said. Norton Rose, an international law firm, merged with Calgary-based Macleod Dixon in June, 2011. Griffiths Energy hired Macleod Dixon in January, 2011. The company was previously represented by law firm Heenan Blaikie. …  Mr. Griffiths attended a dinner at the ambassador’s house in mid-to-late 2009, according to an affidavit signed by Constable Chad Babin dated February 19, 2013. “According to Ms. Niam, Brad Griffiths told her he would give her two million dollars and founders’ shares in Griffiths if she could get him an introduction to Nasser (the Chadian Oil Minister) and Griffiths obtained blocks,” the document says, referencing an interview she gave to lawyers at Gowlings Lafleur Henderson LLP, who served as the company’s lawyer as it waded through its corruption troubles. Ms. Niam “indicated that Brad seemed willing to give her anything she wanted as Brad wanted to make her happy and encourage her to work on Griffiths behalf in 2009.” Griffiths Energy sold millions of so-called founders shares to Ms. Niam, Adoum Hassan, the spiritual teacher, and the wife of deputy ambassador Youssouf Takane for a fraction of a penny each in 2009. Mr. Hassan sold his shares to Ms. Niam, according to the ambassador. The RCMP have yet to recover the shares belonging to Mr. Takane’s wife. [Emphasis added]

[Refer also to: Gwyn Morgan The devil is in the details – an unofficial compilation of news stories relating to Gwyn Morgan (and the Fraser Institute by association)

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