Frank Stronach’s granddaughter seeks company docs related to misconduct allegations

By Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press

The granddaughter of billionaire businessman Frank Stronach is asking an Ontario court to order the family business to disclose any documents that might exist related to complaints of sexual misconduct against him and settlements involving complainants.

In a recent court filing, Selena Stronach argues media coverage of the sexual assault allegations against her grandfather suggest it is likely the alleged misconduct “occurred in the corporate environment and included the misuse of corporate assets.”

The filing is the latest in an ongoing legal battle over the management of The Stronach Group’s and the family’s wealth.

A lawsuit launched by Selena Stronach in 2019 alleges her aunt, Belinda Stronach — Frank Stronach’s daughter and the company’s chairwoman, chief executive officer and president — and others have mismanaged the trusts holding the family’s assets for their own benefit.

A spokesperson for The Stronach Group sent a statement on behalf of Belinda Stronach on Wednesday, saying she would oppose the motion and that the “basis of the opposition will be presented to the court.”

The statement also addressed the allegations against her father, calling them “deeply disturbing” but declining to comment further due to the court case.

The company issued a statement last month acknowledging the charges against Frank Stronach and noting he has “not held a formal role or been involved with company operations in any capacity for several years.”

The Stronach Group said at the time it would not comment further on the criminal allegations, citing the court case.

Frank Stronach was first charged last month with five sex-related offences involving three complainants, soon followed by another eight charges involving seven complainants.

Court documents show the charges include rape, attempted rape, indecent assault, forcible confinement and sexual assault, and relate to alleged incidents dating as far back as 1977 and as recently as this year.

Stronach’s lawyer, Brian Greenspan, has said that his client denies all allegations against him and plans to “vigorously” defend his reputation.

The criminal case is due to return before a Brampton, Ont., court in early October.

Stronach, 91, became one of Canada’s wealthiest people as the founder of auto parts giant Magna, a company he started in his garage in 1957.

He also founded The Stronach Group, a company that specializes in horse racing, and founded Stronach International in 2018, a company focusing on organic foods and “micro-electric mobility.”

Stronach resigned as Magna’s chairman in 2011 and founded his own political party in his home country of Austria the year after.

The lawsuit launched by Selena Stronach says Frank Stronach took a step back from the Stronach Group in 2013 in order to run for office in Austria.

His daughter became more involved in the management of the business as a result, and was made a trustee for all or most of the trusts that “serve as primary vehicles” for holding the family’s assets and distributing wealth to relatives, it says.

“For years, the defendants have ignored and breached repeatedly their fiduciary obligations and have managed and distributed assets without any consideration for Selena, notwithstanding her beneficial interests in the trusts,” the lawsuit alleges.

A statement of defence denies Selena Stronach has been mistreated or kept in the dark about the family’s finances.

“Selena’s various allegations of mismanagement of TSG, misuse of funds, lack of information and breach of fiduciary duties are without foundation,” it says.

The notice of motion from Selena Stronach says that the company’s statement after the sexual assault allegations against her grandfather emerged in early June “did not deny prior knowledge of allegations” against him.

“Given the absence of a denial from TSG, it is likely that records exist which reveal a pattern of misconduct by Mr. Stronach that includes corporate knowledge and, potentially, facilitation and coverup.”

The allegations have not yet been tested in court. A hearing on the disclosure motion is set for early next month.

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