March 1, 2024


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Belief tied to Bridging Finance allegedly moved funds offshore

David and Natasha Sharpe, of Bridging Finance Inc. are photographed in the firm’s downtown Toronto places of work on Apr. 11, 2019. Bridging was positioned in receivership in late April of this yr and the Sharpes had been eliminated from the firm shortly just after.

Fred Lum/The World and Mail

As the Ontario Securities Commission started to probe Bridging Finance Inc., a family rely on produced by the private lender’s top rated executives allegedly moved misappropriated dollars offshore, court data clearly show.

Court and public filings also display that a Bridging borrower, Adrian Montgomery, served as the trust’s director from its creation in April, 2018, until December, 2020. All around the time he stepped down, income was transferred from the spouse and children believe in to a regulation firm’s have confidence in account, and that income was subsequently allegedly funnelled to an asset manager in Liechtenstein, which is a identified tax haven.

There is no evidence that Mr. Montgomery was mindful of the full extent of the trust’s business dealings, and he declined to remark for this story. Even so, his involvement in the have faith in adds to the advanced web of transactions involving David and Natasha Sharpe, who ran Bridging as a married duo, and those who borrowed thousands and thousands of dollars from Bridging.

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Bridging Finance failed to account for negative loans, perhaps boosting its management service fees: Receiver

Bridging was put in receivership in late April of this calendar year and the Sharpes ended up removed from the business shortly after. Bridging, which specializes in non-public debt and manages expenditure resources with about $2-billion in belongings, is now less than the control of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. The OSC is investigating the loan provider and has alleged it had conflicts of desire with a range of borrowers.

In one particular occasion, Bridging lent additional than $200-million to firms managed by Winnipeg businessman Sean McCoshen. The OSC has alleged that a business controlled by Mr. McCoshen transferred a total of $19.5-million into David Sharpe’s chequing account concerning 2016 and 2019. PwC is tracing what became of that $19.5-million, which is how auditors realized that a portion of these money flowed to the household believe in, and subsequently, to Liechtenstein.

In January, 2017, a company Mr. Montgomery ran termed Quantum Murray, or QM, borrowed $5-million from Bridging, The personal loan has considering the fact that been repaid. Mr. Montgomery was also an officer of Aquilini GameCo Inc. together with businessman Francesco Aquilini, who owns the Vancouver Canucks, when it borrowed $20-million from Bridging in August, 2019.

Aquilini GameCo has considering that merged with another business to form Fanatic Gaming, in which Mr. Montgomery is chief government. Enthusiast’s mortgage from Bridging stays remarkable and was lately greater to $24-million, but is deemed one of Bridging’s superior-carrying out loans.

Mr. Montgomery has also served as chair and interim CEO of hashish enterprise MJardin, which is one particular of Bridging’s biggest and most troubled financial loans. MJardin ran into financial issue before Mr. Montgomery joined the board.

In April, 2018, the Sharpes produced a spouse and children believe in acknowledged as the 182 Crescent Street Have confidence in and named Mr. Montgomery as director. Trusts are usually used by higher-internet-truly worth individuals for tax and estate scheduling reasons, and are typically overseen by industry experts, this kind of as a law firm. When a person areas their property into a trust, those people property are, in theory, no for a longer period under their command, but alternatively, the obligation of the trustee. Even though not a practising attorney, Mr. Montgomery is a registered member of the New York State bar.

The have faith in is named following the tackle of the Sharpes’ spouse and children property in Toronto’s Rosedale neighbourhood, and the property was transferred into the have faith in two months soon after it was designed, community filings clearly show.

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New court docket files allege that the have faith in also held a financial institution account, and at least $4-million of the $19.5-million that Mr. McCoshen deposited into Mr. Sharpe’s chequing account was transferred into this financial institution account. “Certain funds” had been subsequently transferred from the trust’s lender account to To start with Trust Administration, found in Liechtenstein, in accordance to the receiver. PwC is trying to get well people money.

The OSC started out probing Bridging’s affairs last year and in Could, 2020, the regulator requested the financial institution to give a checklist of all financial loans designed considering that 2017, courtroom filings present. The OSC also questioned Bridging to suggest no matter whether a borrower or its directors, officers and/or shareholders “was ever a relevant party of BFI [Bridging] and, if so, the dates when this romance existed.”

In reaction, Bridging submitted a desk that provided a column addressing whether or not loans have been produced to a associated social gathering. For the two financial loans taken out by Mr. Montgomery’s providers, Bridging wrote ‘No.’ The OSC is still investigating Bridging and has not manufactured any official allegations against the business or the Sharpes.

The family members trust for which Mr. Montgomery was the director has arrive to light because PwC lately figured out the Sharpes’ household was getting privately promoted for sale. On Friday, PwC mentioned the household has been offered, but the receiver entered into an agreement with attorneys for the Sharpes that stipulates proceeds will be held in a law business rely on account.

David and Natasha Sharpe did not answer to requests for remark for this tale. Canaccord Genuity Corp., which brokered the 2019 loan among Bridging and Aquilini GameCo., declined to remark. Canaccord Genuity has also served as Fanatic Gaming’s guide monetary adviser, and has been a fiscal adviser to MJardin, the cannabis firm in which Mr. Montgomery was board chair and interim CEO.

Francesco Aquilini also declined to comment for this story. A Financial institution of Montreal fiscal adviser who allegedly managed the Sharpes’ family members belief did not answer to a request for remark.

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