Former B.C. mining company executive Bryn Gardener-Evans has been fined $40,000 for omitting relevant information in news releases with respect to private placements funded by consultants from the Bridgemark Group case.
Gardener-Evans is also prohibited from acting as a director or officer of a public company for six years, according to a B.C. Securities Commission hearing panel sanctions decision on Thursday.
Gardener-Evans is also barred from stock promotion activity and “advising or otherwise acting in a management or consultative capacity in connection with the securities or derivatives markets.”
It was previously determined, last April, Gardener-Evans made misrepresentations on two private placements for New Point Exploration worth a total of $6.4 million, in July and August of 2018.
At issue is his omission that most of the money raised was, in fact, immediately returned to consultants, who also participated in the private placement.
The commission originally alleged in November 2018 a widespread fraudulent consulting arrangement occurred across 11 companies listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange, including New Point. The commission alleged companies and consultants participated in a swap of cash and newly issued shares from private placements — and no actual or substantial consulting work was done.
Gardener-Evans did not cut a deal with the commission ahead of his hearing, unlike many other companies and executives.
New Point (now Majuba Hill Copper Corp. trading at 16 cents with no revenue stream) itself admitted liability for misrepresentation and filing false or misleading statements in exchange for no penalty, in a deal with the commission, which a hearing panel accepted.
Gardener-Evans represented himself and argued, in his defence, according to the panel’s summary, “that no established rule or standard exists regarding the disclosure that must be made relating to amounts paid or owed to consultants and, accordingly, a new legal standard is going to be required.”
He also said it was unfair for the commission to proceed against him considering it had halted trading in the company before the consultants had an opportunity to carry out any work.
According to the panel, Gardener-Evans further “suggested that the Commission has found difficulties with its regulations and is changing them after the fact while using him as a scapegoat.”
Allegations of conduct contrary to the public interest were dropped against most of the consultants in 2021. Stockbrokers from Research Capital Corp. (Mackie Research) were implicated in the arrangement and fined by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada.
However, the commission amended its charges since the original complaint and has scheduled commencement of insider trading hearings on Sep. 29.
Related to the Bridgemark case, West Vancouver residents (and their respective companies) Anthony Kevin Jackson (BridgeMark Financial Corp. and Jackson & Company Professional Corp.), Justin Edgar Liu (Lukor Capital Corp. and Asiatic Management Consultants Ltd.) and Cameron Robert Paddock (Rockshore Advisors Ltd.) are alleged, in an amended hearing notice, to have conducted themselves contrary to the public interest as company directors and performed illegal insider trading.
A fourth accused, Robert John Lawrence, has already admitted to illegal insider trading and been fined $200,000 with three-year trading prohibitions.