B.C. woman sues attorney general, claiming she was falsely linked to terrorism
'I was innocent all along; I was used as a tool for Canada'
A Vancouver woman who alleges she was falsely tarred by links to terrorism and arms dealing has filed a civil lawsuit against the attorney general of Canada in B.C. Supreme Court.
Perienne de Jaray, a former Apex Canada executive who lived near Bellingham, Wash., claims in the Vancouver lawsuit she and her father were targets of the Canadian government who, she says, were trying to show they had strict rules on exports to thwart terrorism.
De Jaray alleges she suffered years of baseless investigation on both sides of the border after the Canadian government told the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2009 it had intercepted a shipment of illegal, weapons-grade electronics from Apex — a claim later revealed to be false.
Despite losing a bid to launch a $21 million suit in U.S. courts, she filed a new lawsuit in August 2017 to try and prove her case in B.C.
"This claim is for recovery of a professionally accomplished young professional woman's life, reputation, fortune and future that were critically damaged by the actions of officials of the government of Canada in a criminal investigation and resulting criminal charges where there was no crime," according to the 55-page notice of civil claim.
Earlier this year, a similar lawsuit was dismissed by a Western Washington District Court which ruled, under American law, foreign states have immunity from lawsuits.
De Jaray abandoned an appeal of the ruling in order to proceed with the case in Canada.
Her lawyer said there was never any evidence that his client or her father did anything wrong.
The civil suit claims malicious prosecution and abuse of process.
"She was an unwitting pawn in an international policy problem," said Vancouver lawyer Donald Sorochan.
The civil case says the woman was accused as a tactic to pressure her father Steven de Jaray to confess to a non-existent crime.
Feels like she's been 'left for dead'
Canada was under pressure at the time to show compliance to U.S. export controls or be shut out of the defence industry, said the lawyer.
He describes how his pregnant client was served a summons at a North Vancouver gas station in 2010 and remains jarred by the experience of being "aggressively rushed" at a gas pump, then rushed to hospital to prevent a miscarriage, according to the civil suit.
De Jaray describes how she was attacked because of the false allegations against her. She says her car was keyed and her family screamed at by neighbours until the family was forced to relocate.
"To this day, I have been left for dead —. nothing to penalize them for how aggressively they treated me," she told CBC.
"I was innocent all along. I was used as a tool for Canada to resume the business of military trade with the United States," she said.
In her lawsuit, she claims damages for psychological damage and PTSD and says she returned to Vancouver after the fallout from the allegations.
"She still suffers from this. She still does," said Sorochan.
De Jaray was the former executive vice-president of Washington-based Apex USA, overseeing the multimillion dollar offshoot of electronics maker Apex Canada, founded by her father.
At its peak in 2009, Apex Canada made $39 million, producing micro-electronics products.
None of the allegations has been proven in court and the government has not filed a response.