Supreme Court to decide whether bankruptcy can wipe out outstanding fines

(Ottawa) The Supreme Court of Canada will hear an appeal in December from a British Columbia couple who argue their declaration of bankruptcy should wipe out millions of dollars in fines a court ordered them to pay to the Securities Commission.

The country’s highest court last March authorized Thalbinder Singh Poonian and Shailu Poonian to appeal a judgment of the British Columbia Court of Appeal; the hearing has now been set for December 6.

Court documents show the Poonians were ordered by the British Columbia Securities Commission to disgorge several million dollars in profits and pay collective administrative penalties of $13.5 million for committing market manipulation.

The Poonians appealed the sentence in court, arguing that this debt should be erased once they are released from bankruptcy.

The British Columbia Court of Appeal rejected their appeal last year. She agreed with the Securities Commission that the penalty was a sanction for the couple’s fraudulent activities and would not disappear once the bankruptcy ended.

The Securities Commission had discovered that the price of a stock traded on the TSX Venture Exchange had been manipulated. The Poonians were sentenced to administrative sanctions and reimbursement of the fruits of their scheme.

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