By: Korie Marshall
The Ontario Securities Commission has extended a temporary order to suspend all trading by GITC and its CEO and Director, Amal Asfour.
In February 2014, GITC issued a press release saying it would be investing in the future of Valemount. The company planned to offer investment and immigration services to bring immigrants, primarily from the Middle East, to Valemount to invest in and run new local businesses. The investment was intended to allow them to apply for Canadian citizenship under BC’s Provincial Nominee Program.
Later that month, copies of a number of confidential company documents were released anonymously via email to a members of government and media, using GITC’s contacts. GITC said their system had been hacked, and the allegations were misconstrued. One of the leaked documents was a letter from the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) asking for detailed information about the company, its business practices and client information.
“The OSC wants to make sure the investors I am bringing have enough money to support their families while they are here,” Asfour told the Goat in last year. “They want to make sure they have more than the $200,000, and they also said we have to be licensed by the Securities Department, which I didn’t know about.”
Asfour said she didn’t know that what she was offering would be considered securities, and didn’t know if she would also need to be certified in British Columbia. She said the OSC told her she would need to be registered with them since the company was working in Mississauga, and she would contact her lawyer to see if registration was also needed in BC.
“But the investments are done from Ontario and we are processing the files. In BC, we are not processing any files,” said Asfour.
On Dec. 11, 2014, the OSC issued a temporary order that all trading by GITC, GITC Inc. and Amal Tawfiq Asfour should cease and that exemptions to the Ontario securities law do not apply. A hearing was scheduled for Dec. 18th to consider extending the temporary order and whether to make further orders.
On Dec. 24th, the OSC issued an order to extend the ban until June 25th, 2015. The new order says the GITC and Asfour were served, but did not attend the hearing on Dec. 18th. The hearing was adjourned to Thursday June 18th, 2015 at 10:00 am.
The BC Securities Commission says it conducts its investigations on a confidential basis. “We are not able to confirm or deny the existence of an investigation until it becomes a matter of public record,” says a spokesperson. That happens if and when the commission announces they are pursuing disciplinary action. The BC Securities Commission posts notices of hearings and settlement agreements on it’s searchable website. There is no public record of GITC or Asfour in on their website.
GITC’s website still boasts a letter of support and an exclusivity agreement with the Village of Valemount, but none of the contact numbers on the website are in service. The Goat has received no response to requests for comment via the website or email.