Bell Centre memorabilia owner charged with fraud
JEAN-FRANCOIS CLOUTIER, QMI Agency
|A display of memorabilia is shown at the Montreal Canadiens Hall of Fame at the Bell Centre on Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012. (Philippe-Olivier Contant/QMI Agency)
MONTREAL - Most of the memorabilia displayed at the Montreal Canadiens Hall of Fame is owned by businessman Allan Rubin, who is accused of a massive tax fraud.
Rubin, a businessman who lives in the posh neighbourhood of Westmount, lent three quarters of the items in the display, says a Bell Centre spokeswoman.
The items include sweaters worn by legends such as Jean Beliveau, Maurice Richard and Patrick Roy. There are also rare hockey cards, a hockey stick used by Guy Lapointe and the 1953-1954 contract between the Habs and goaltender Jacques Plante.
Rubin was arrested in 2007 as part of a provincial police/Revenue Quebec investigation into the jewelry trade. His trial is ongoing.
Court documents obtained by QMI Agency allege that Rubin has defrauded taxpayers of at least $40 million since 2000.
A source with the Crown refers to Rubin as one of four or five ringleaders of a vast criminal gold-dealing network.
Rubin's gold-casting company, Federal Commercial Metals & Co, allegedly supplied the precious metal to accomplices at a low price.
It's not clear if the Canadiens memorabilia was purchased with proceeds of crime. Court documents say allegedly fraudulent tax returns were filed as far back as 1993. The Hall of Fame exhibit opened in January 2010.
Rubin's lawyer, Robert Israel, refused to comment. Rubin immediately hung up when contacted by QMI Agency.
Canadiens spokesman Jacques Beauchamp said he was not aware of the accusations against Rubin.
He added that he saw no problem with displaying Rubin's items since the businessman has not yet been convicted of a crime.
Ethicist Donald Riendeau says the presence of Rubin's items raises important questions, given that collectors who lend valuable objects don't have to pay insurance while the potential value of their items continues to increase.
"The visibility of an object has the effect of increasing its popularity," said Riendeau.