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Canada abetting Washington’s ‘new Cold War’ with Huawei arrest, says economist

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The arrest of a Chinese tech executive is yet another example that the U.S. is creating “a new Cold War” in international trade, says economist Jeffrey Sachs, who adds that Canada is abetting its southern neighbour.

Canadian officials arrested Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of the Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei, in Vancouver on an extradition request from the U.S. She has been released on $10-million bail and must stay at her Vancouver home.

Sachs — director of Columbia University’s Center for Sustainable Development and the UN’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network — believes the arrest is an attempt by the U.S. to “stop China’s rise” by creating a chilling effect on Chinese businesses.

“You have a neighbour to the south that is quite erratic … a little bit unhinged at China’s rise in power,” Sachs told CBC from Warsaw, Poland.

“This is a pretty well-known American approach to use its power to try and break the economic momentum of a rival, and I think it’s very, very bad behaviour and very dangerous, actually, for the world to have a new Cold War,” he added. 

“This is the U.S. Cold War mentality being replayed … the U.S. just doesn’t want any rivals anywhere.”

Sachs also questioned the reason for the arrest, arguing the motive is inconsistent with previous U.S. behaviour.

“She’s charged with — as I understand it — fraud, for a presentation she gave to HSBC about Iran dealings,” said Sachs.

“It’s interesting that HSBC was itself sanctioned for massive violations of U.S. sanctions to Iran, but not a single executive faced any charges, much less an arrest in a foreign airport, and dragged through a process like [Meng],” he added.

“This is extraordinary, and I understand why China’s reaction is as it is, because it’s absolutely, completely out of the norm.”

Watch: Jeffrey Sachs on Huawei executive’s arrest

Jeffrey Sachs says Canada is caught in the middle of a diplomatic spat between two superpowers. 1:13

Meng’s father is founder of Huawei, a powerful Chinese telecommunications company that has sold equipment and consulting services around the world. The company is moving rapidly into 5G technology working with international researchers, but some critics have accused Huawei of spying on behalf of the Chinese government.

The fraud allegations against Meng centre around the relationship between Huawei and a Hong Kong company called Skycom, that did business in Iran.

According to U.S. prosecutors, Skycom was a “hidden” subsidiary of Huawei. Meng once served on Skycom’s board of directors but she says Huawei sold its interest in Skycom and she stepped down from the board.

Iran is subject to U.S. sanctions and banks can be found criminally liable if they help move money out of a sanctioned country and into the broader global banking system.

‘Canada’s being used and manipulated’

Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig were detained by China on Monday over what the Beijing News, a state-run Chinese newspaper, described as suspicion of engagement in activities that endanger China’s state security.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday criticized China’s actions, calling them “not acceptable.”

When asked if the detention of the two Canadian men was intended as retaliation, a spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry said they were being handled according to Chinese law.

Watch: Huawei arrest and U.S. trade agenda

Canada is caught in the middle between two superpowers over the Huawei CFO arrest. While Ottawa says this isn’t political, China seems to feel very differently. So is Canada being used? And at what costs? At Issue is here to answer those questions and more. 10:47

Sachs believes the arrests are a consequence for Canada’s recent involvement in Washington’s campaign to levy heavy-handed punishment on Meng over perceived Iran sanctions violations.

“I think Canada’s doing the bidding of United States policy that is not well-controlled or well-modulated,” he said.

“Maybe Canada’s being used and manipulated, not only vis-à-vis China, but for the United States to try to show anyone: ‘You dare cross us on any business with Iran, you’re going to pay a price.'”

Canadian officials, including Trudeau, have emphasized that Canada’s arrest of Meng was not arbitrary, but done in accordance with the extradition treaty in place with the United States.

Sachs urges Canada to consider evaluating the situation by its own merits rather than acquiescing to U.S. demands. 

“To my view, Canada should reflect independently and realize that what it’s being asked to do was completely outside international norm and very provocative,” he said.

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Couple from Toronto buys dream home in Mushaboom

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MUSHABOOM – A couple who lived and raised a family in downtown Toronto developed a five-year plan in 2015 to purchase their dream home.

In September they moved into the home – located on Malagash Island in Mushaboom on Nova Scotia’s stunning Eastern Shore – that met and exceeded their best dreams for their retirement.

The Camerons, Bruce and Tanya, decided in 2019 they would explore the Maritimes to see what real estate was available to become their potential retirement home. In the spring of 2020, during a global pandemic, the real estate boom hit their city, and they were hearing the same for Nova Scotia. Our province was their first-choice for attaining their desire for an entirely different lifestyle – away from the busyness of the city.

“We had $300,000 to $350,000 as a home value in mind to buy. Our semi-detached located off Danforth in Toronto was priced at $850,000. We wanted to come out ahead, so we would be secure in retirement,” Tanya said.

Their century-old home had prime location near the subway and GO Transit Line for a great 13-minute commute downtown.

“We enjoyed our community,” explains Bruce “… we had great neighbours, young children around and street parties – lots of social activity.”

Bruce says, “Our agent suggested a starting quote of $899,000. We did not do any renovations and only some staging. Fifty couples went through and we received four significant offers. Six days later we sold – with zero conditions – and a price of over a million dollars. We just requested a closing of September 2020 to get the kids off to school – which we got.”

The couple got more than they had anticipated.

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Rabobank Announces Leadership Changes in U.S., Canadian Offices

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NEW YORK, Dec. 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Rabobank, the leading global food and agribusiness bank, has appointed two of its top executives, Tamira Treffers-Herrera and Robert Sinescu, to become Co-Heads of North American Client Coverage, positioning the Bank for future growth in the region.

Treffers-Herrera has also assumed the role of Vice Chairperson and Head of the Atlanta office, where she additionally oversees Rabobank Mexico, which is led by Eduardo Palacios. Sinescu is the Head of the Chicago office, and also oversees Rabobank Canada, led by Marc Drouin, who was recently appointed as Canada’s General Manager.

Treffers-Herrera and Sinescu report to David Bassett, Head of Wholesale Banking North America, the Bank’s corporate and investment banking business for the region based in New York.

“Both Tamira and Robert have a demonstrated history of strong leadership, operational excellence and passion for our clients,” Bassett said. “Their broad experience and deep sector expertise will be invaluable in delivering dynamic results for clients while accelerating our growth trajectory in North America.”

Each office will have an even greater focus on key Food & Agribusiness sectors and clients: The Chicago office will drive growth in sectors including Dairy, Farm Inputs and Grains & Oilseeds, which are also key areas of focus for the Canada office. The Atlanta office will focus heavily on sectors such as Animal Protein, Beverages, Sugar, and Supply Chains, which are important sectors in Mexico as well.

“Rabobank is fully committed to our clients throughout North America, and we believe our new sector-focused coverage will improve our ability to provide knowledge-based, value-added solutions that benefit our clients,” Bassett said.

Treffers-Herrera was most recently based in London as CEO of Rabobank’s European Region from 2016-2020, where she took the organization through Brexit. Prior to that, she worked in the Atlanta office from 2002-2016. During her tenure in Atlanta, Treffers-Herrera served as Global Sector Head – Consumer Food & Beverages, and prior to that she was a senior banker for a portfolio of large beverage and consumer foods clients. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kentucky, a Master of Arts from the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce and has studied at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Harvard Business School.

Sinescu has been with Rabobank for over 21 years and was previously General Manager of Rabobank Canada, where he oversaw all operations, business development, commercial strategy and relationships with regulators. In addition, he continues to serve as CEO of Rabo Securities Canada Inc. Prior to Canada, he was a senior banker, Head of Corporate Banking, European Sector Head for Sugar, and a member of the Management Team for Rabobank France. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business from the Bucharest School of Business, a Master of Business Administration & Management and a Master of Science in Banking and Corporate Finance from Sorbonne University in Paris, and has studied at Brown University.

Drouin has worked with Rabobank’s Canadian team for more than nine years and most recently served as a senior banker, Head of Rabobank Canada’s AgVendor Program and a member of Rabobank Canada’s Management Team. He brings extensive wholesale banking experience within the Dairy, G&O, CPG and Supply Chain sectors. Drouin holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from McGill University and a Master of Business Administration in International Finance, Marketing and Management from the Schulich School of Business at York University.

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Real Estate

Greybrook Realty Partners & Marlin Spring Brand Jointly Owned Asset Manager – Greyspring Apartments

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TORONTO, Dec. 14, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Greybrook Realty Partners and Marlin Spring are pleased to announce the new branding of their jointly owned investment and asset management firm, Greyspring Apartments. With a portfolio of more than 2,000 units and CAD$375 million in assets under management, Greyspring Apartments is focused on the acquisition and repositioning of multi-family assets throughout Canada.

The new name and branding is an important step in Greyspring’s evolution as an independent operating business. Formed in 2018 by long standing-partners Marlin Spring and Greybrook Realty Partners, Greyspring Apartments was established with the goal of building a leading asset management firm with a robust portfolio of residential rental real estate assets in primary and secondary markets across Canada.

Greyspring’s talented team of real estate, asset management and finance professionals is overseen and guided by the Management Board, whose members include Benjamin Bakst, CEO, Marlin Spring; Elliot Kazarnovksy, CFO, Marlin Spring; Sasha Cucuz, CEO, Greybrook Securities Inc.; Peter Politis, CEO, Greybrook Realty Partners; Chris Salapoutis, President & COO, Greybrook Realty Partners; Ashi Mathur, President, Marlin Spring; and Karl Brady. In addition to his role on the Management Board, Karl Brady leads Greyspring Apartments as its President. 

“We are pleased to announce the official name and branding of a business we formed with our partners at Marlin Spring a few years ago,” said Peter Politis, CEO, Greybrook Realty Partners. “Greyspring has been diligently focused on the execution of strategic value-add programs across its portfolio that are improving the quality of housing for tenants and overall asset values. For Greybrook investors, expanding from our core business in real estate development to the value-add space through Greyspring, has allowed us to provide our clients with investment opportunities that diversify their real estate investment portfolios.”

“Marlin Spring and Greybrook have partnered on many residential real estate projects in recent years,” said Benjamin Bakst, CEO and Cofounder, Marlin Spring. “To a great extent, Greyspring illustrates our approach to partnerships. We believe in, and strive for, responsible growth through deepening our relationships with our trusted partners. With Greyspring, we’ve formalized our focus on providing better and more affordable living experiences for Canadians. This vision aligns with our mission to deliver exceptional real estate value to all our stakeholders with an uncompromising adherence to our core values.”

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