The CEO of Otéra Capital, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec’s real estate lending unit, has been removed for an alleged ethical breach.
Alfonso Graceffa faced an internal investigation earlier this year and has now left the company along with three other employees. Although all are said to have breached the company’s ethics code, the four cases are not connected.
The investigation was conducted by law firm Osler and found "no evidence that the Otéra portfolio was subject to fraud or to money laundering, and no evidence of fraudulent transactions".
“To put it mildly, I am extremely unhappy,” Caisse CEO Michael Sabia told the Montreal Gazette. “This is unacceptable. The goal now is to correct the situation and improve the processes at Otéra. We’re going to do this quickly because this is serious business.”
Graceffa has issued a statement vehemently contesting what he says is his “wrongful and unjust dismissal.”
"I have an exceptional career in the banking, finance and real estate industries that I am very proud of," says Mr. Graceffa. "I have always conducted myself professionally and have consistently acted prudently and in good faith. I have never in my career received any preferential treatment or benefit. And I have never provided anyone else with such benefits. The accusations levelled against me by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec do not stand up to serious and rigorous scrutiny," he affirms.
Mr. Graceffa served as President of the Board of Directors and CEO of Otéra Capital, President of the Board of Directors of the mortgage financing company MCAP, and Head of Business Units and member of the Executive Committee of Ivanhoé Cambridge.
"The allegations against me are based on incomplete facts that have been taken out of context. They constitute an unacceptable and unjustified attack on my reputation. I will restore my reputation, which I have carefully and rigorously built both as a manager of public funds and in my business and personal affairs."