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This article was published 26/8/2011 (2069 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
MONTREAL -- A Quebec judge has authorized a class-action lawsuit on behalf of 1,600 Canadian investors who say they lost $130 million in an alleged fraud scheme.
Justice Jean-François Buffoni ruled investors in Montreal-based Mount Real Corp. have the right to sue accounting firms and trustees they allege didn't do their jobs properly.
Three major accounting firms -- Deloitte & Touche, BDO Dunwoody and Schwartz, Levitsky, Feldman -- are named in the suit. So are two financial service companies: B2B Trust, a subsidiary of Laurentian Bank, and Services Financiers Penson Canada Inc.
The suit also targets former Mount Real head Lino Matteo and chief financial officer Paul D'Andrea.
Investors, represented by Andree Menard, are seeking $130 million, plus interest.
Bruce Johnston, a lawyer for one of three firms representing the investors, says the authorization has a deeper significance.
According to Thursday's judgment, the accounting firms argued their employees couldn't be held liable unless each individual investor had relied on the financial statements to make their investment decisions.
But lawyers for the investors argued if the accountants had done their due diligence, Mount Real would have fallen apart early on and the fraud would not have occurred, Johnston said.
-- The Canadian Press