Canada Arrests Intelligence Officer Who Worked On Magnitsky Probe
By RFE/RL September 15, 2019
A senior intelligence official has been arrested in Canada and charged with disclosing classified information to an unspecified foreign entity.
Cameron Jay Ortis, the director general of a Royal Canadian Mounted Police intelligence unit, appeared in court on September 13 to face charges under three sections of the Security of Information Act and two Criminal Code provisions.
Prosecutors said only that Ortis is accused of obtaining, storing, and processing classified information with the intention of communicating it to a foreign entity.
The Toronto-based Globe And Mail reported on September 14 that one of the many high-profile cases that Ortis was involved in was looking into whether any money from a massive Russian corruption case first uncovered by lawyer Sergei Magnitsky had been funneled through or into Canada.
Bill Browder, the head of Hermitage Capital, which employed Magnitsky, posted on Twitter on September 14 that Ortis's arrest was "unbelievable."
Magnitsky died in a Russian remand prison in 2009 after spending 11 months in custody without trial.
Ortis was reported as recently as August as having been overseeing the $230-million fraud case that allegedly took money from Browder's investment fund in Russia.
It is unknown whether Ortis's arrest was connected with his work on the Magnitsky case.
Mercedes Stephenson, Ottawa bureau chief for the Global News television channel, posted on social media that "Ortis had access to the following information: identities of undercover Canadian police and undercover Canadian agents operating domestically and abroad."
"There is serious concern about whether any of those identities are compromised," she wrote.
According to Global News, U.S. intelligence advised Ottawa that Ortis was offering classified information.
Ortis's arrest is believed to be part of a wider operation involving the "five eyes": intelligence sharing among Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Britain, and the United States.
Ortis also faces criminal charges of breach of trust and unauthorized use of a computer.
He faces up to 37 years in prison if convicted on all counts.
Ortis is scheduled to return to court on September 20.
With reporting by AP, Globe And Mail, Toronto Star, Global News, and Reuters
Copyright (c) 2019. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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