OSC panel upholds insider information allegations against Bay St. M&A lawyer

TORONTO – An Ontario Securities Commission panel has ruled Bay Street lawyer Mitchell Finkelstein provided inside information on impending corporate takeovers his firm was working on to a friend, who was also an investment adviser.

In a decision released Wednesday, the panel found Finkelstein provided tips on three major deals that his law firm Davies Ward Phillips and Vineberg was working on between 2004 and 2007.

The recipient of the information was Paul Azeff, a friend of Finkelstein dating back to their university days, who worked for CIBC in Montreal as an investment adviser.

Azeff fed the information to one of his friends, Korin Bobrow, also then at CIBC. Both either bought shares of the target companies for themselves, their family members or clients, the OSC said.

The regulator said they also told other friends, who also bought shares for themselves, family members and clients.

Allegations of providing similar information on three other deals were rejected by the panel. All of the respondents denied having used non-public information in any of the instances cited by the regulator.

A sanctions hearing is set for May 21.