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Former executive assistant to top BCE official, others accused of insider trading

MONTREAL – Quebec’s securities regulator has launched penal proceedings against a former executive assistant to a top BCE Inc. executive, alleging she illegally tipped family and friends in an insider trading scheme that netted them more than $1 million in profits.

The Autorite des marches financiers alleges that Renee Morier provided information about transactions involving her employer.

Morier, her husband Sylvain Milette, a friend, Francis Beauchamp, as well as the parents of both Morier and Beauchamp, face a total of 42 charges that would carry minimum fines totalling almost $2.7 million if they were convicted on all charges.

Morier, Milette and Beauchamp are also facing possible prison terms under the penal proceeding, but an AMF spokesman said in most cases, penalties are restricted to fines and other administrative penalties.

An AMF official refused to identify the top executive for whom Morier worked, but said neither the executive, the company nor any other BCE employee is suspected to have been involved in the alleged scheme.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

The AMF intervened in the matter earlier this year by executing search warrants and cease trade orders and freezing some $1.9 million in the respondents’ accounts.

Morier faces nine charges as a result of the alleged infractions, including one count of using privileged information and eight counts of tipping or communicating privileged information that is not yet known to the public.

Milette is facing eight charges, including two counts of illegal insider trading, one count of using privileged information, one count of conspiracy to trade in securities based on privileged information and four counts of tipping.

Beauchamp is charged with nine offences, including three counts of illegal insider trading, one count of using privileged information, one count of conspiracy to trade in securities based on privileged information and four counts of tipping.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said Quebec’s securities regulator launched criminal proceedings against the former executive assistant, but the regulator had said in fact the proceedings were penal.