Ice coats tree branches outside of the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa on December 10, 2012.
Adrian Wyld / THE CANADIAN PRESS
MONTREAL – A lawyer who recommended his client invest her money with a fraudulent Triglobal investment adviser must reimburse the millions his client lost in the Ponzi-type scheme, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled.The Triglobal scandal is one of the biggest investment frauds in Quebec. In all, about 100 investors were bilked out of more than $100 million over the decade-long scheme.In an 8-to-1 decision rendered Thursday, the highest court in the land confirmed that a lawyer can be held responsible for recommending a financial adviser, given that he reassured his clients for years and recommended investments that did not correspond with their expressed savings needs. This case went beyond a simple referral, the court wrote.“This case concerns a lawyer who, over a period of several years, recommended and commented favourably on a financial consultant and financial products, and encouraged his clients to keep their investments with the consultant, ” the decision states.In 2003, lawyer Kenneth Salomon introduced his client, Judith Matte-Thompson, to his close friend and personal financial consultant Themis Papadopoulos, and recommended she get advice from him. Over the next four years, Matte-Thompson and her business invested more than $7.5 million in Papadopoulos’s investment firm, Triglobal Capital Management. The investments were placed in accounts in the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas that were linked to Triglobal and were part of a Ponzi-type strategy.In 2007, Papadopoulos, the driving force behind Triglobal, and his associate Mario Bright, disappeared with the millions of dollars that Matte-Thompson and her firm had “invested”, along with that of about a hundred other investors.Matte-Thompson sued Papadopoulos and Bright, as well as Salomon and his legal firm for professional negligence. In 2014 a court found the financial consultants guilty – they offered no defence – but rejected the legal action against the lawyer and his firm.That judgment was overturned by the Court of Appeal in February of 2017, which ordered Salomon and his firm to jointly pay $7 million in compensatory damages to Matte-Thompson and her company.The Court of Appeal ruled that the lawyer “neglected in many instances his duty of counsel and loyalty” and that the losses suffered had “an immediate and direct link to the errors of Salomon”.The Supreme Court confirmed that decision on Thursday.