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Lawyer charged in alleged McGill hospital fraud

The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) offices are shown in Montreal, Tuesday, September 18, 2012, where members of Quebec's anti-corruption squad conducted a raid at the premises.

GRAHAM HUGHES/THE CANADIAN PRESS

A lawyer has become the sixth person to be charged in connection with an alleged fraud case at Montreal's English hospital complex that has embroiled the hospital's former chief executive and the former head of engineering giant SNC-Lavalin.

Quebec's anti-corruption squad arrested Yohann Elbaz Thursday morning after provincial prosecutors authorized 16 criminal counts against him, including fraud, fraud against government, breach of trust, handling secret commissions and money laundering.

Mr. Elbaz is a member of the Quebec bar association and the brother of Yanai Elbaz, a former director of redevelopment for the McGill University Health Centre, who was already facing charges in the same investigation.

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Other people also charged in the file include former MUHC executive director Arthur Porter, former SNC-Lavalin CEO Pierre Duhaime and former SNC-Lavalin construction head Riadh Ben Aïssa.

Dr. Porter, who oversaw the MUHC for seven years, negotiated a $1.3-billion contract granted to SNC-Lavalin in 2010 to build a massive new hospital complex.

A forensic audit ordered by SNC-Lavalin's board showed that $22.5-million was transferred from SNC-Lavalin to a firm incorporated in the Bahamas in 2009, Sierra Asset Management.

Jeremy Morris, a Bahamas resident believed to be a principal with the company, is also among the men charged in the investigation.

Yohann Elbaz worked on a number of mandates as anexternal consultant for the MUHC, from 2009 to October, 2011, the hospital saidin a statement.

Saying that it continues to co-operate with police, theMUHC declined to comment further.

Yohann Elbaz is to appear in court in Montreal on May 23.

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His brother and Mr. Morris and Mr. Duhaime have also appeared in court. Mr. Ben Aïssa is currently detained in Switzerland.

Now living in the Bahamas, Dr. Porter says he is too ill with cancer to travel to face investigators.

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About the Author
National reporter

Tu Thanh Ha is based in Toronto and writes frequently about judicial, political and security issues. He spent 12 years as a correspondent for the Globe and Mail in Montreal, reporting on Quebec politics, organized crime, terror suspects, space flights and native issues. More

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