Charges laid in ICI Construction investigation

An Ottawa couple faces 21 criminal fraud charges for allegedly stealing assets from their construction company, ICI Construction Management, according to an RCMP statement released Friday.

Roland Eid and his wife Marlene Yacoub Eid were arrested on Wednesday on charges including fraud over $5,000, obtaining credit by false pretence, laundering the proceeds of crime, fraudulent disposition of property and obtaining credit by false representation.

Mr. Eid is in custody pending a bail hearing, and Ms. Eid was released under unspecified conditions.

An investigation was launched in 2008 after the RCMP received a complaint from the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy alleging that Mr. Eid and his wife transferred corporate assets into their personal accounts before fleeing to Lebanon. The company, which held liabilities of more than $10 million, went into bankruptcy and a number of creditors were not paid for their goods and services.

In August 2007, the company won a $4.5-million contract to move, rebuild and demolish several buildings for an RCMP training facility on land owned by the Department of National Defence off Shirley Boulevard in the west end.

Mr. Eid abruptly left Ottawa for Lebanon in 2008 after ICI suddenly closed its doors and went into receivership. The company failed to complete the RCMP job, resulting in the bonding company, Trisura Guarantee Insurance Co., to sue the couple for at least $2 million.

While experts said the chances of collecting the money were slim given the difficulty of enforcing the order in Lebanon, Trisura executives said at the time that they were proceeding with the lawsuit in case any of the company principals ever return to Canada.

Mr. Eid previously told OBJ that he left Canada to “pull my family together and live in a different part of the world.”

He maintained he sold ICI to the company’s controller, Sebastien Dagenais, for $2.95 million and provided a copy of the sales agreement to OBJ. However, Mr. Dagenais’ lawyer previously said a number of sales conditions were not met.