A former Ontario resident and her companies have agreed to permanent bans from the markets and nearly $7 million in monetary sanctions after admitting to unregistered trading and illegally distributing securities, the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) announced on Friday.
The OSC has approved a settlement agreement with Amal Tawfiq Asfour and her companies, GITC Investments & Trading Canada Ltd. and GITC Inc., permanently banning both Asfour and her companies. In addition the OSC ordered Asfour and her comapies to pay a $200,000 penalty, $6.68 million in disgorgement, and $25,000 in costs.
According to the settlement agreement, Asfour and the companies admitted to trading securities without being registered, illegally distributing securities, and violating the public interest, when they sold shares of the two companies to residents of various countries in the Middle East, including Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on the premise that making the investment could qualify the investors to obtain permanent resident status in Canada. They allegedly raised approximately $6.68 million from 48 investors, the settlement notes.
“The respondents failed to understand that the investments made in GITC were ‘immigration-linked investment schemes’ prohibited by [immigration rules],” the settlement agreement says, adding that all of the immigration applications submitted by GITC were rejected.
The funds raised from investors have not been accounted for, and most ofthe investors have not been repaid, the settlement agreement notes.
“Asfour has left Ontario and refuses to appear in-person at the settlement approval hearing,” the settlement agreement says.
However, Asfour has admitted to breaching Ontario securities law, and to acting contrary to the public interest, the settlement agreement adds, and she agreed to attend the settlement hearing by video conference.