Gilles Latour speaks to MFDA charges, family and future

In this Oct. 22, 2012, file photo, Gilles Latour makes a presentation to Cornwall city council. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – After two-and-a-half years of “sitting on his hands,” a financial advisor at the center of two investment investigations – one criminal, the other regulatory – is speaking out against the latest ruling.

On Monday, the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada fined Gilles Latour $900,000 plus $10,000 in legal costs and banned him from conducting mutual fund trading for life.

“This one here is over the top, it’s ludicrous,” Latour said in an interview with Cornwall Newswatch.

Latour was able to speak with CNW about the MFDA proceedings but was advised by his legal counsel not to speak about the upcoming criminal proceedings, which will be in a Cornwall court on Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. He is facing 43 charges including fraud and breach of trust.

He accuses the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of forging ahead with its case against him with no information from the criminal case.

“They’ve decided to go ahead and do what they’ve done yesterday which is kind of ridiculous. I am at a point right now, what’s the most important part, other than my family, is the criminal case. And the way they’ve (MFDA) been sharing information with pretty much everyone…they’ve written a total of 22 stories. It’s not a way to be dealing with these important issues…through the media,” Latour said.

“They’ve decided that, hey, we’re the MFDA and we’re going to do what we do best.”

Latour is adamant he has cooperated with the Mutual Fund Dealers Association and “all that they’ve recommended.”

He said there was next to no deliberation before the penalty was handed down. “They say (MFDA) they don’t have to wait (for the criminal case). We are the MFDA, we are going to regulate and make an “example” of you and, I mean, deliberation…it lasted about nine minutes and they came back with a number of $900,000…they put me on hold. I mean, how did you come up with that?” Latour chuckled. “It’s totally unfair.”

The MFDA is expected to release a written decision in the weeks ahead.

Latour said two other regulators that Latour Financial Group worked with – FISCO and Chambre De La Securite Financiere – have taken a back seat waiting for the criminal case to be completed.

“I can’t do any business. All my licences have been suspended, which is fine, which I don’t have a problem with. But other associations have said let’s go through the process and as soon as the process is completed then we’ll come back to you. But, no, the MFDA decided that, hey, we’re going to put our gloves on and here we go,” Latour said.

When asked if he would appeal the MFDA ruling, Latour said 49 stories have been written by various media outlets in the Cornwall area about the case.

“My name is pretty much mud in the city and as far as the financial industry. But I plan on making sure that everyone knows the truth about what actually went on. But it has to take its time. Unfortunately it’s two-and-a-half years. I will definitely clear my name.”

Latour pointed to the fact he has stayed in Cornwall throughout all the allegations and court proceedings, while others accused of similar crimes who may have been guilty might have skipped town.

Latour conceded his business has already been damaged beyond repair and that investors have left based on “their own assumptions. Other people have already taken the road and treated me as if I’m guilty.”

The MFDA ruled the fine could be reduced if Latour made restitution. Latour said he couldn’t speak to that because it’s part of the criminal case.

“Everything will get cleared up hopefully in a matter of months because I would like to get on with my life.”

How has the last two-and-a-half years affected Gilles Latour?

“I don’t wish that upon anyone, even the people I dislike the most,” Latour said. “The problem is, you’re guilty until proven innocent. When it takes as long as it has, the unfortunate part is that even people from my immediate circle are now doubting. Because I’m not able to speak about details.”

“I’ve got an amazing family and we’re doing well. But it has taken its toll and I have a few extra grey hairs to prove it. My family is tight and we’re going to survive this. Unfortunately, the justice system takes it time.”