The former general manager of Laval’s Cosmodome has been charged in connection with what financial authorities are describing as an alleged Ponzi scheme that involved a real estate project in China.
Quebec's financial regulatory agency, the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), confirmed today that Sylvain Bélair is facing 188 charges in connection with the real estate deal, which the AMF says involved at least 47 investors who handed over nearly $2 million between 2006 and 2009.
The AMF described Bélair as “supervisor” of the alleged scheme.
Among other things, he's charged with failing to file a prospectus with the province’s financial regulator, giving unauthorized investment advice and providing false or inaccurate information concerning a real estate transaction.
“Our investigation found that a large part of that money disappeared,” Sylvain Théberge of the AMF told Radio-Canada.
Bélair served as the general manager of the Cosmodome from 2009 until January of this year. He is still listed as the museum’s science and education director on the Cosmodome's website.
On Tuesday, the current general manager of the museum told Radio-Canada that Bélair has been suspended while the investigation continues.
Marc DeBlois said the management at the Cosmodome "takes this very seriously" and that recommendations will be made to its board of directors on how to proceed.
He said the charges are related to alleged incidents that took place before Bélair was employed by the Cosomdome.
Patrick Boisvert has also been charged in connection with the alleged fraud and faces 52 similar accusations.
The AMF said the majority of the investors were from Quebec and elsewhere in Canada.