Canada: Halifax man first to face trial for violating Canada’s international economic sanctions - - PressFrom - Canada
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Canada Halifax man first to face trial for violating Canada’s international economic sanctions

16:35  12 november  2019
16:35  12 november  2019 Source:   globalnews.ca

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A Halifax man who is the first person charged with violating Canada ' s economic sanctions against Syria is back in Damascus doing business there, CBC Kalai is facing one charge under the Special Economic Measures Act (SEMA) tied to a payment of 15 million Syrian pounds — or about 0,000

A Halifax businessman will stand trial next spring on a charge of violating Canada ’ s economic sanctions against Syria. Kalai, 54, is the first person to be charged with breaching the sanctions , which were enacted by the Canadian government in 2011 after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Pro-Syrian regime protesters hold Syrian flags and portraits of Syrian President Bashar Assad, on the airport highway near Damascus, Syria, Sept. 26, 2011. © AP Photo/Bassem Tellawi Pro-Syrian regime protesters hold Syrian flags and portraits of Syrian President Bashar Assad, on the airport highway near Damascus, Syria, Sept. 26, 2011.

A Halifax businessman will likely be the first person to face a trial after violating Canada's regime of economic sanctions in Syria, according to an expert in international law.

Michael Nesbitt, an assistant professor of law at the University of Calgary, said that the trial of Nader Kalai for violating Canada's Special Economic Measures Act (SEMA) is one that he'll be monitoring closely.

"This is the most interesting case we've ever seen in Canadian sanctions legislation and it hasn't even started yet," Nesbitt told Global News in a phone interview.

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Canada has sanctions and related measures in place against a number of countries, as well as sanctions against specific individuals and entities identified as being: (i) responsible for, or complicit in, extrajudicial killings, torture or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights; (ii)

A Halifax man who was the first person charged with violating Canada ' s economic sanctions against Syria is now accused of violating the European Union's Nader Kalai — a Syrian national with permanent residency in Canada — is known to be a close associate of Syrian President Bashar

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The sanctions against Syria were established by Canada in 2011 after the country's president Bashar al-Assad violently cracked down on peaceful protesters.

Kalai, a Syrian national with permanent resident status in Canada, is accused of violating the measures imposed on Syria by making a payment of 15 million Syrian pounds -- the equivalent of approximately $140,000 -- to a company called Syrialink on Nov. 27, 2013.

If convicted Kalai could face up to five years in prison.

Kalai's lawyer, Ron Pizzo of the law firm Pink Larkin, said his client intends to go to trial to contest the charges.

According to court documents reviewed by Global News, a statement sworn by a Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) investigator outlined a two-year-long investigation into Kalai that began after an intelligence officer received anecdotal information that Kalai was in business with individuals associated with the Syrian regime.

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Nader Kalai, a Syrian national who has permanent resident status in Canada , is charged with breaking international Kalai is facing one charge under the Special Economic Measures Act (SEMA) tied to a payment of 15 million The maximum penalty for violating sanctions is a five-year prison term.

Home. Canada and the world. Canada ' s international relations. Canadian economic sanctions . Understand the legislative instruments Canada uses to impose sanctions . Permits and certificates. Apply for permission to complete an exceptional transaction that would otherwise violate a sanctions

CBSA claimed that Kalai had made false statements to Citizenship and Immigration Canada about his work history and was improperly granted a Canadian Permanent Resident Card.

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The investigation ultimately culminated with investigators executing warrants in December 2016 to search Kalai's home on Young Avenue as well as his office, and to seize electronic devices.

CBSA laid the charges of violating sanctions against Kalai in June 2018.

Affidavits filed in May 2018 note that the Canada Revenue Agency is conducting its own investigation of Kalai for tax evasion and failure to report income.

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Nesbitt says that Kalai's trial will be unique, with only one person having been prosecuted under SEMA since it was introduced in 1992.

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Canada ' s international relations. Canadian economic sanctions . Sanctions related to Venezuela have been enacted under the Special Economic Measures Act in order to implement the decision of the Association formed between Canada and the United States of America on September 5, 2017.

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"It was for a shipment to Iran which was sanctioned at the time and it resulted in a guilty plea and a small fine for a multi-million dollar company," said Nesbitt.

"It's a regime that we have almost never used in practice."

Even Nesbitt doesn't have an answer to why that is.

"We're going to see all of that for the first time, whether we have the capacity to marshal the evidence, whether the evidence will be sufficient to make up the case," he said.

Pizzo said he doesn't think it matters whether "this is the first prosecution under the SEMA Syria regulations, other than that the Act and Regulations in question in this case have never been legally interpreted before."

The Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC) declined to discuss its approach to the relatively novel case but said that the regulations are "meant to be primarily persuasive and preventive in nature."

"As the matter involving Mr. Kalai remains before the courts, we have no further information to provide," said Nathalie Houle, a spokesperson for the PPSC.

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Kalai has also been placed under sanctions by the European Union.

Last January, the European Union (EU) accused Kalai of violating its economic sanctions on Syria.

As a result, he was also added to a list of individuals and companies that have had their assets frozen and a travel ban applied due to their dealings with the Assad regime.

The EU describes Kalai as being a "leading businessperson operating in Syria with significant investments in the construction industry."

"[Nader Kalai] benefits from and/or supports the regime through his business activities."

Kalai's trial is set to be heard by a judge alone over three days beginning May 25, 2020.

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