Data theft in Desjardins The investigation was banned in court

The investigation into Desjardins’ massive theft of personal data is not nearing completion. After searching the movement’s offices in Montreal in February, police predicted that more than six months of negotiations would be necessary in order to be able to see the evidence under the seal. Two months later, the legal proceedings did not even begin, due to a dispute with the financial institution’s attorney.

Hugo Junkas

“Given the complexity of the request and the sometimes divergent interests of the two parties, we are already locked up early enough in implementing the protocol,” Attorney General Richard Rojo said in the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

In February, Sûreté du Québec (SQ) spent four days in Tower C of the Desjardins complex gathering evidence of a data breach that was discovered in 2019.

Immediately upon their arrival, the movement’s lawyers resisted. According to the police, “many of the items that were searched were of a distinct nature,” according to what the police said in the Supreme Court.

Therefore, SQ pledged to put its loot under seal and submitted a “Lavallée” proposal to the Supreme Court to determine what investigators could see and what should be revised.

The process was to begin in February with the appointment of a lawyer Court friend (Friend of the court). Her role will be to assist Judge Catherine Perrault in examining the captured items.

The process was then supposed to continue until at least August, according to SQ estimates included in its petition.

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But here it is: Desjardins opposed the appointment of the attorney the prosecutor had chosen for the job. After two months of inspection, that first step has not been taken, Attorney General Rojo told the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

“Friend” is overrated

Instead of the attorney appointed by the prosecution as a friend of the court, Desjardins would like to appoint Daniel Fearon, of the Angelo Cabinet. The Problem: This foreclosure specialist charges more than the maximum regulatory rate of $ 300 per hour for this job, at the expense of the Quebec attorney general, and thus the taxpayer.

Desjardins offered to pay the extra fees himself, but the public prosecution has “great reluctance” on this matter, according to Prosecutor Rojo.


This table from Sûreté du Québec attempts to explain the very complex process that must be followed in the context of Lavallée’s request submitted in order to be able to refer to evidence seized in Desjardins’ offices in February, as part of the Portier project on a data breach.

The idea also wowed Dennis Gallant, a criminal attorney, former president and CEO of Autorité des marchés publics and a former deputy public prosecutor for the Charbonneau Commission. He said, “I understand them for not being keen on the idea.” It is a matter of neutrality … ”

Criminal attorney Jean-Claude Hébert also finds Desjardin’s proposal questionable.

Two months were lost

One thing is for sure, these discussions hinder the process at the initial stage and paralyze the investigation of Sebastian Bolanger Dorval. This former Desjardins employee is suspected of stealing the personal information of millions of Desjardins Group customers, then reselling it to a group of private lenders and brokers in the Quebec City area.

“They have lost two months!” Dennis Gallant guys. Nothing has been studied yet. They cannot consider the evidence before it is decided upon, they will make a procedural error … ”

And it warns that many other pitfalls may appear on the road to the battlefield and the prosecution. In my opinion, they will not even agree on what is special and what is not. ”

On Wednesday, however, a lawyer from the movement wanted to “reassure the court.”

Desjardins continues to analyze her privilege and will be in great shape when the two finally have it Court friend To work with him, said Gabriel Query of McCarthy Teatro. This is the cornerstone of ensuring we have Lavallée Order that will be effective. ”

The parties will return to court on May 18.

Painstaking investigation

Criminal attorney Jean-Claude Hébert was surprised to see the many complexities accumulated in the investigation of personal information theft that affected all of Desjardin’s clients, or nearly 9.7 million people.

It’s so complicated, long and arduous, I think it’s the first.

Criminal attorney Jean-Claude Heber

Desjardins in particular calls on attorney and client privilege, confidentiality of business information and protection of its clients’ personal information to prevent investigators from quickly examining articles that were seized in February.

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Since the beginning of the investigation into the massive theft of Desjardins’ data, collaboration between SQ and the movement has proven difficult.

In May 2019, the police were forced to live by order of Anton Piller obtained by Desjardins. This order allowed the Movement to confiscate the material itself from Sebastian Boulanger Dorval without being accompanied by the police.

What is Lavallée’s request?

This court process is used to frame the presentation of evidence after the search, or even to remove elements of evidence if the seized person or organization invokes a privilege of secrecy, such as attorney-client privilege. Its name is due to Lavallée and Rackle & Heintz c. Canada in the Supreme Court.

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