Lawyers for three ex-OPP union leaders, 2 business associates appear in court

Lawyers for three former OPP union leaders, a Toronto lawyer and a U.S. citizen appeared in Toronto's Old City Hall court this morning to address charges of fraud over $5,000 and money laundering.

The accused did not appear and the case was held over until Aug. 17

A probe by the RCMP uncovered evidence suggesting fraud by senior managers of the OPP's union. (Michael Charles Cole/CBC)

Lawyers for three former OPP union leaders, a Toronto lawyer and a U.S. citizen appeared in Toronto's Old City Hall court this morning to address charges of fraud over $5,000 and money laundering.

The accused did not appear, but their lawyers said they received more information from police this morning on the allegations they are facing, and court was adjourned until the next appearance on Aug. 17.

The five were charged last month after a 19-month investigation by the RCMP's financial crime and anti-corruption units.

The investigators were looking into allegations of misuse of funds and improper conduct, "by former senior employees of the Ontario Provincial Police Association and persons acting in concert with them," the RCMP said in the statement.

The officers accused are:

  • James Christie, 48, the union's ex-president, of Midland, Ont.  The OPP detective sergeant was suspended from duty in March 2015 and is on a voluntary leave of absence from his union position
  • Martin Bain, 50, the union's former vice-president. From Oro-Medonte, Ont.  The OPP constable was suspended from duty in March 2015 and is on a voluntary leave of absence from his union position
  • Karl Walsh, 52, the union's former chief administrative officer, of West Gwillimbury, Ont. The OPP constable was suspended from duty in March 2015. He had been placed on administrative leave from the OPPA. Walsh ran unsuccessfully for the provincial Liberals in the Barrie riding in 2011. 

Also charged are:

  • Andrew McKay, 54, a Toronto lawyer.
  • Francis Chantiam, 60, of New Jersey.

The RCMP say they carried out a search warrant at the head office of the OPP Association in March 2015. From that, they allege the union leaders had an undisclosed financial interest in two companies: a travel agency and a consulting firm.

They believe McKay and Chantiam set up the companies, and Christie, Bain and Walsh used their union positions to establish business contracts between the OPPA and the companies. 

They also believe the officers made high-risk investments in real estate properties in the Bahamas.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.