SECURITIES COMMISSIONS - Investigations and examinations - Investigation order - Powers of Commission

Law360 Canada (May 15, 2023, 9:13 AM EDT) -- Appeal by Wang from decisions of the British Columbia Securities Commission (Commission) finding that he breached s. 57.5 of the Securities Act (Act) and imposing various sanctions. Section 57.5 prohibited conduct amounting to an obstruction of justice. In its liability decision, the Commission found that Wang coached a dissatisfied investor to lie to an investigator looking into the investor’s complaint to the Commission. Wang’s purpose was to stop the investigation into his conduct. In a subsequent sanctions decision, the Commission ordered Wang to resign any position he held as a director or officer of an issuer or registrant, imposed a two-year market ban and ordered Wang to pay an administrative penalty of $30,000. This appeal concerned the proper interpretation of s. 57.5 of the Act. In its liability decision, Wang said the Commission erred in interpreting s. 57.5 to apply to an informal investigation in addition to one of the formal investigation processes explicitly provided for in the Act. Alternatively, Wang said that on the plain wording of the provision, the impugned conduct must have occurred before the commencement of the investigation. Wang further said that as a matter of statutory interpretation, his conduct was not caught by s. 57.5 because the investigation had commenced by the time that he coached the investor to lie. Wang alleged the Commission panel erred in law in concluding that he concealed or withheld, or attempted to conceal or withhold, information reasonably required for an “investigation ... under this Act” within the meaning of s. 57.5 and in concluding that he contravened s. 57.5(1) when all of his impugned conduct occurred after the investigation had commenced, and not “before” the investigation as required by s. 57.5(2)....
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