Canada issues arrest warrant for former spy watchdog official

Arthur Porter
Authorities in the Canadian province of Quebec have issued a warrant for the arrest of a government official who until recently was responsible for overseeing the country’s primary national intelligence service. From 2008 to 2011, Dr. Arthur Porter was a member of the Security Intelligence Review Committee, which investigated grievances against the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). In order to fulfill his Committee duties, Porter was awarded a top-secret security clearance, which allowed him access to the CSIS’ most closely held secrets. In 2004, Porter, who is a Cambridge University-educated oncologist, was appointed Director General of the McGill University Health Centre in Montréal. In that capacity, he began a business relationship with Ari Ben-Menashe, an Iranian-born Israeli lobbyist and weapons merchant, who in 1989 was arrested and charged in the United States for illegally attempting to sell military transport airplanes to Iran, in connection with the so-called Iran-Contra affair. Ben-Menashe was acquitted after claiming during his trial that he had been operating as an Israeli intelligence officer. In 2011, Porter stepped down from his post at the Security Intelligence Review Committee, after Canadian newspaper The National Post revealed that he had wired $200,000 in personal funds to Ben-Menashe. Soon afterwards, he moved to the Bahamas and attempted to stay away from the public limelight. This changed on Wednesday, however, when authorities in Quebec issued an arrest warrant in his name and accused him of having accepted bribes in connection with his post at the McGill University Health Centre. According to the state of Quebec, Porter is one of five people involved in a bribing scandal in which a Canadian engineering company paid senior Health Centre officials in return for being awarded a lucrative construction contract. According to The National Post, Porter has been charged with, among other things, fraud, conspiracy, defrauding the government of Canada, and laundering the proceeds of crime. Government prosecutors in the province of Quebec told news media on Wednesday that Porter would need to be extradited from the Bahamas. A complication could arise, however, from the fact that Porter is also a registered honorary diplomat for Sierra Leone in the Bahamas. He has denied all charges against him.


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