An RCMP raid on the offices of top Ontario Provincial Police union leaders was part of an investigation into allegations of theft, fraud and laundering of proceeds of crime, newly released court documents show.
Search warrants and production orders related to the March 6 raid say there are “reasonable grounds for believing” the offences have been committed, along with criminal breach of trust and fraudulent concealment.
Warrants were issued for searches at several locations, including the Ontario Provincial Police Association’s offices in Barrie, Ont., three vehicles registered in its name and a Toronto travel company.
A production order was also issued for backups of union email accounts used by its president Jim Christie, vice-president Martin Bain and chief administrative officer Karl Walsh.
These accounts were to be searched for messages related to business ownership, investments and transactions involving these and other individuals or the association, as well as union expenses and annual leave, the order reads.
Another ordered the union to turn over copies of emails from Christie, Bain and Walsh’s union email accounts stored on CD and a USB drive dating from September 2013 to the present and related to the same topics.
The email data were to be immediately sealed and sent to an independent forensic examiner to be analyzed without being seen by police, the documents show. The data would then go to an independent lawyer, who would determine whether to invoke solicitor-client privilege and notify affected clients if applicable.
The warrants, orders and other related documents were initially sealed by the Ontario Superior Court but released by a judge on Friday.
No charges have been laid but the criminal investigation has prompted several senior union officials to step aside.
The union said earlier this week that Christie and Bain, whose offices were searched, have taken voluntary leaves of absence.
Walsh, whose office was also searched by the RCMP, has been placed on administrative leave, it said.
The Ontario Provincial Police Association said in a statement it had fully co-operated with the criminal investigation by handing over items identified in the search warrant.
On Monday, RCMP Const. Jean Juneau said the investigation was in its preliminary stages and “there are absolutely no charges pending right now.”
The RCMP did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.