Quebec is closing the investigation into its deputy minister Stéphane Le Bouyonnec, who told La Presse that he still has links with a high-interest loan company. The Prime Minister’s ministry is satisfied with a sworn declaration in which it affirms to the government the opposite of what it had declared to our journalist and to Finabanx shareholders.

“After analysis of the facts collected, it appears that he no longer holds any link or interest of any kind whatsoever in Finabanx, since the sale of all his shares in the company to a third party, on 1 October 2019,” mentions a letter from the general secretary associated with senior employment, Brigitte Pelletier. “The sales contracts submitted by Mr. Le Bouyonnec, as well as the sworn declaration he produced for this purpose, bear witness to this reality. »

In an interview, Stéphane Le Bouyonnec nevertheless stated the opposite, on November 28, explaining that he hoped for a future payment despite the transfer of his shares to the head of the company’s financial department1.

“I simply gave up this whole thing for $1, and if there were ever any future considerations, let’s put it like that, there would eventually be money coming back, well then, I would have a return “, he said.

He added that he would “eventually” like to get back “the nominal value” of his investment, which is what he invested in Finabanx before “selling” his shares: $500,000.

In an email to a Finabanx shareholder in February 2021 and filed in court, Stéphane Le Bouyonnec also explained that he had to “give up” his shares because of “[s]his job”, but that his “risk remains at [sic] 100 % for 500k [$500,000].”

The deputy minister provided contrary explanations to his boss.

“The explanations that Mr. Le Bouyonnec gave to the La Presse journalist, as well as the content of certain emails that he exchanged with shareholders beyond October 1, 2019, may give rise to various interpretations and suggest that he still maintains ties or financial interests in the Finabanx company. In this regard, Mr. Le Bouyonnec recognizes that his explanations would have required context in order to qualify certain elements reported in the media, hence his sworn declaration,” writes the Associate Secretary General.

La Presse contacted the Ministry of Executive Council – which reports to François Legault – to find out how it interpreted the terms used by the deputy minister with the daily newspaper, namely “future considerations”, “return” and “nominal value”. The government did not respond.

The Ministry of Executive Council sent the affidavit in question to La Presse. The Deputy Minister claims to have sold his shares in the company controlling Finabanx “for cash, without balance of sale price or deferred or payable consideration in the future or other consideration or similar consideration”, contrary to what he asserted on November 28.

His affidavit, however, does not mention at what price. Stéphane Le Bouyonnec told La Presse that he had “sold them for $1”.

On December 7, La Presse looked into the links between Stéphane Le Bouyonnec and Finabanx and revealed that he is involved in a dispute between the company’s shareholders. President Esther Ross accuses him of participating in an illegal takeover attempt against her.

To defend himself, Stéphane Le Bouyonnec appealed, at least until May 2022, to Me Karim Renno, according to the act of representation filed in court. He is also the lawyer for Frédérique Peter Boucher, a shareholder who filed a lawsuit against Esther Ross.

As part of this conflict, Stéphane le Bouyonnec has already had to explain, in out-of-court interrogation, his management of the company as manager, until 2020.

La Presse tried to contact him again to understand the contradictions between his statements to our journalist and those he provided to the government. Without success.

Same thing for Frédérique Peter Boucher, the former chief financial officer of Finabanx who allegedly bought back his shares: he did not respond to our call or a text message.

The Quebec Liberal Party had called for an investigation into the links between Finabanx and Stéphane Le Bouyonnec, appointed deputy minister last October, and requested his suspension, following the La Presse investigation.

In interrogation out of court in 2021, Stéphane Le Bouyonnec has already had to explain questionable payments that the company would have made, according to the testimony of a former senior executive, to repay a debt of its partners in organized crime.

La Presse also mentioned that Stéphane Le Bouyonnec presented himself as “chairman of the board” to other investors, even though the company never had a board of directors.