News·In Depth

Who's who? McGill University hospital $22.5M bribery case

A who's who lists the accused in the $22.5-million fraud and bribery case. Quebec investigators allege executives of Montreal engineering firm SNC-Lavalin conspired to pay "consultant fees" to shell companies in a bid to funnel bribes to McGill University hospital executives in a successful bid by SNC to win a $1.4-billlion construction contract.

Targets of 'the biggest fraud and corruption investigation in Canadian history,' says Sûreté du Québec


Pierre Duhaime, ex-CEO of SNC-Lavalin. (Sûreté du Québec)

Forced to resign as CEO of SNC-Lavalin in March 2012 amid internal audits, Duhaime was arrested later that year on charges of fraud, conspiracy and issuing false documents. Police allege he ordered secret payments to a shell company Sierra Assessment Management contracted to help SNC win the $1.4-billion contract to build the McGill University super hospital in Montreal.


Riadh Ben Aissa, former executive vice-president of construction at SNC-Lavalin. (Sûreté du Québec)

Ben Aïssa was forced to resign as SNC-Lavalin executive vice-president of construction in February 2012 and was arrested two months later in Switzerland accused of bribery and corruption in dealings with Libya. In August of 2014 Swiss Authorities accepted an out-of-court settlement from Ben Aïssa's lawyers, allowing him to be extradited to Canada that October, where he was charged with 16 counts, including fraud and issuing false documents, for allegedly ordering $22.5 million in kickbacks to help SNC-Lavalin win the MUHC contract.


Dr. Arthur Porter, former MUHC executive director. (Sûreté du Québec)

Dr. Arthur Porter, oncologist and businessman, became director of MUHC in January 2004. Prime Minister Stephen appointed him in September 2008 to also sit on the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC), which overseas Canada's spy agencies. In 2009, SNC-Lavalin hired Porter's Bahamian company, purportedly for work in North Africa, but Quebec police believe the $22.5-million SNC paid to the "consulting company" went to kickbacks to Porter and other hospital executives. In late 2011 Porter quit the MUHC and SIRC, where he had become chairman, and returned to the Bahamas where his family lived. He was arrested at the airport in Panama in May 2013. He was fighting extradition back to Canada when he died of cancer in Panama in July 2015.


Pamela Porter, wife of Arthur Porter. (Sûreté du Québec)

Pamela Porter is the only person convicted in the McGill University Health Centre $22.5 million kickback scheme. In December of 2014 the wife of Dr. Arthur Porter admitted to wilful blindness in pleading guilty to two counts of money laundering—one for passing on email instructions from her husband to various banks, and the second for allowing her representatives to gather money for her $250,000 bail in 2013 from accounts that included tainted money. The guilty plea allowed Quebec's proceeds of crime bureau to start recouping $5.5 million in assets from the Porter family. 

Porter was released from jail in June 2015.


Yanai Elbaz, former MUHC director of redevelopment. (Sûreté du Québec)

Yanai Elbaz is a former director of redevelopment for the McGill University Health Centre who worked closely with executive director Arthur Porter. He was arrested in February 2013 and charged with conspiracy to commit fraud. He is listed as a director, alongside his brother, Yohann Elbaz, of Pan Global Holdings, which police allege received $11.25 million in illicit payments according to testimony before the Charbonneau commission.


St. Clair Armitage, expert on public-private partnerships. (Sûreté du Québec)

St. Clair Armitage is a British consultant specializing in "public-private partnerships" who wrote a report influencing the granting of the $1.4-billion MUHC mega project.

He was released on $75,000 bail in June 2014 in Montreal and allowed to return to England awaiting trial on charges of conspiracy, fraud and breach of trust.

All charges against Armitage were withdrawn on Oct. 3, 2016.


Yohann Elbaz, lawyer. (Sûreté du Québec)

Yohann Elbaz is a lawyer and brother of former MUHC director of redevelopment Yanai Elbaz. Police allege he was director, with his brother, in the shell company Pan Global Holdings, which received $11.25 million in illicit payments.

He was arrested in April 2013 and charged with a string of offences including fraud and money laundering. He has waived his right to a pre-trial and his case will be heard April 2nd. 


Jeremy Morris, lawyer in the Bahamas. (Sûreté du Québec)

Jeremy Morris is a Bahamian lawyer alleged to have been a principal in Sierra Asset Management and who helped to open Pan Global Holdings.

According to police, they were shell companies used to funnel $22.5 million in illicit payments from SNC-Lavalin to former MUHC executives. Morris surrendered to police in Montreal in March 2013 but was allowed to return to the Bahamas to await trial on charges of fraud, conspiracy and laundering proceeds of crime.

On Oct. 24, 2016, all charges against Morris were dropped.


The Sûreté du Québec laid 11 charges against ex-SNC-Lavalin VP Stéphane Roy in September 2014 for his alleged role in what police described as a vast conspiracy to pay secret commissions to hospital officials to win the MUHC hospital construction project. Roy, who served as financial controller in the company's construction division, was charged earlier in 2014 with foreign bribery, fraud and defying a UN resolution.

CBC News, Charbonneau Commission