A British Columbia appeal court has rebuffed an attempt to overturn asset freeze orders imposed by the B.C. Securities Commission (BCSC).
The court dismissed an appeal from Pioneer Ventures Inc., which sought to overturn a BCSC hearing panel decision that declined to revoke orders freezing the firm’s bank accounts amid an ongoing BCSC investigation.
After the BCSC issued the freeze orders in May 2019, Pioneer Ventures applied to the commission, seeking to revoke the orders and arguing that there was no evidence to justify them.
The BCSC denied that application, and Pioneer Ventures then turned to the courts.
On appeal, the firm argued that the commission “erred in equating the evidentiary burden required to issue an investigation order with that required for a freeze order; and that it failed to consider the public interest before granting the freeze orders.”
The court disagreed, ruling that the BCSC didn’t err in assessing the the evidentiary burden or in applying the law to the facts of the case.
The court also rejected the argument that issuing the orders amounted to a breach of procedural fairness.
“There was evidence before the commission to justify the orders, including allegations of undisclosed insider trading, misrepresentations in public disclosure and self‑dealing,” the court noted in its decision.