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Bahamas doctor arrested on Canadian fraud charges

Updated at: 05/29/2013 1:06 PM
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(AP) MONTREAL - A prominent resident of the Bahamas wanted on fraud charges in Canada has been arrested in Panama.

Dr. Arthur Porter was detained Monday by Panamanian authorities, along with his wife Pamela, several months after Quebec police announced they wanted to charge him in connection with the province’s ongoing corruption scandals.

Quebec’s anti-corruption police said extradition proceedings are being undertaken.

The Sierra Leone-born Porter is a physician and cancer specialist who faces six fraud-related charges stemming from the construction of the US$1.3 billion McGill University Health Center in Montreal. Porter was director of the hospital when the alleged fraud occurred between 2008 and 2011.

Porter, who left the hospital in 2011 amid allegations of mismanagement, is one of several people facing fraud-related charges stemming from the construction of the health center, one of Canada’s biggest infrastructure projects, set to open in 2015. Others charged include the former head of Canadian engineering giant SNC-Lavalin.

Porter also formerly headed the watchdog committee that monitors the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the country’s spy agency. He was appointed to that post in 2008 by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, eventually becoming chairman of the Security Intelligence Review Committee in 2010.

Police announced the charges against Porter in February. A month later, the McGill University Health Centre said it was cancelling plans to pave an "Arthur T. Porter Way" onto the hospital property.

In the Bahamas, Porter is managing director of a private cancer treatment center in the islands’ capital of Nassau. He has made the wealthy community of Old Fort Bay his permanent residence since moving to the archipelago off the eastern coast of Florida.

He told The Associated Press in February that he had late, stage-four cancer and was too ill to travel to Canada.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)