MONTREAL — Quebec regulators have rejected ousted Cinar Corp. co-founders Ronald Weinberg and Micheline Charest’s request to appoint a new trustee for their controlling stake in the troubled Canuck kids TV programming firm.
The Quebec Securities Commission said Friday that the pair couldn’t replace Robert Despres with bankruptcy expert Noubar Boyadjian. Weinberg and Charest, who exited Cinar after a major financial scandal three years ago, had made the request in June.
The Commission was not certain that Boyadjian would be independent from Charest and Weinberg’s influence, or that the change would benefit Cinar shareholders.
Charest and Weinberg appointed Despres trustee of their Cinar shares after the Commission ruled last year that they must have an arm’s length relationship with the company. The former Cinar execs were unhappy when Despres took over as chairman last year and appointed a new board of directors.
Robert Chapman from Chapman Capital, a minority investor in Cinar and a frequent critic of Despres, said the Commission was making a big mistake. He said shareholders who controlled more than half of Cinar had urged the Commission to replace Despres.
“U.S. investors in Cinar believe that the (Quebec Securities Commission) has made a mockery of its regulatory mandate to protect the interests of Quebec-based public company shareholders,” Chapman said. “We believe that the rejection of Mr. Noubar Boyadjian was a fait accompli even before the Commission began what we believe was a sham review of his qualifications and independence from Cinar’s founders.