Christina Spencer, Ottawa (Toronto Sun) – RCMP misinformation is a key reason a Canadian businessman has been languishing in prison in Bulgaria for the last 12 years, says the outspoken former head of the RCMP complaints commission.
Shirley Heafey told Sun Media the case of Michael Kapoustin, jailed in Sofia since 1996, bears a close resemblance to that of Maher Arar, whose imprisonment and torture in Syria resulted in part from erroneous RCMP work.
“I’ve reviewed it, the Kapoustin file, and I’ve seen documents in there that are misleading, that are obviously false information,” Heafey said. “That’s the kind of thing they did with Arar.”
Kapoustin, a British Columbia entrepreneur who invested in eastern Europe’s post-Communist economy in the early 1990s, was slapped with fraud and embezzlement charges by the Bulgarian government in the mid-1990s, after the RCMP suggested he was linked to money-laundering. All counts save one were dismissed on appeal. Still, Kapoustin is serving 17 years.
He has said he was tortured in prison, and he has twice been denied a transfer to Canada, although both countries are parties to the Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. In a bid to persuade Bulgaria to reconsider and send Kapoustin home, his lawyer approached the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP four months ago, alleging Canada’s national police provided wrong information in its original dealings with Bulgaria.