MONTREAL – Criminal charges against the doctor accused of committing what Quebec authorities described as the biggest corruption fraud in Canada’s history have officially been abandoned, two years after his death, the Crown announced Friday.
Crown prosecutor Nathalie Kleber said she filed Arthur Porter’s death certificate in court after receiving confirmation of its authenticity from authorities in Panama.
Porter died in Panamanian custody in 2015 after being detained in that country at Canada’s behest in 2013.
He was 59.
“This ends the judicial process against Dr. Porter,” Kleber told journalists at the Montreal courthouse.
Kleber said it took so long to close the case against him because she only recently received confirmation of the death certificate from Panama.
Quebec’s anti-corruption unit accused Porter of accepting a $22.5-million bribe in connection with engineering firm SNC-Lavalin winning a $1.3-billion contract to build the McGill University Health Centre superhospital.
Porter was once highly regarded among Canada’s business and political elite and served as head of the MUHC as well as on the board of the independent agency that oversaw Canada’s spy services.
Quebec’s anti-corruption unit said Porter’s alleged crimes amounted to the biggest act of fraud corruption in the country’s history.
His wife, Pamela Porter, pleaded guilty in late 2014 to two counts of laundering the proceeds of crime and was sentenced to 33 months for her role in the alleged bribery scandal connected to the superhospital project.
Kleber said the charges against Porter’s other co-accused will remain, with the case set to resume Sept. 27.