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The Ability of International Organizations to Act in Cases of Corruption

April 29, 2016

Friday April 29, 2016 - World Bank Group v. Wallace, 2016 SCC 15

Supreme Court decision on Garofoli and O’Connor Applications 

A Supreme Court of Canada decision from 2016 sheds light on the ability for international organizations to step in in cases of corruption. 

The World Bank Group and its investigative unit dealing with corruption and fraud, called the Integrity Vice Presidency (INT), received information from a whistleblower about an international conglomerate whose executives were attempting to bribe officials into securing a very lucrative and pricey – into the billions of dollars – construction contract. Upon receiving these documents, INT conducted an investigation, and then handed over the reports from their investigation as well as all other relevant documents received to the RCMP. 

The RCMP was able to obtain search warrants and authorization to wiretap. The former executives then challenged the authorizations at the Ontario Superior Court, asking for INT investigators to be obligated to appear in court. The judge initially granted the applications, prompting the World Bank Group to appeal, at which point the Supreme Court of Canada overturned the trial judge’s decision. 

At the heart of the case, perhaps, was the admissibility of the evidence – namely, what was acquired due to wiretapping and search warrants. In these cases, there are two kinds of applications that can be made to the courts: the Garofoli application and the O’Connor application. The Garofoli application is specific to wiretaps and their use in monitoring personal exchanges, and can be brought forward by a criminal defence lawyer if they feel that evidence was unlawfully obtained. The burden of proof then rests with the accused to prove that a search warrant or other authorization was obtained wrongfully.

The O’Connor application can be used to receive documentation that would then support a Garofoli application. The O’Connor application specifically works to obtain documents or evidence from a third party or institution that an accused previously does not have access to. In order to use these to support a Garofoli application, one must prove that there is a possibility within reason that the documents will be valuable to the issue at hand. 

Fight Charges with a Trusted Criminal Lawyer in Ontario

When faced with criminal charges or involved in a complex legal matter, especially those related to corruption, fraud, or other financial crimes, seeking legal advice and representation from a reputable criminal defense lawyer is crucial. Individuals or entities in such situations should consider consulting with one of the top criminal defense lawyers at Karrass Law.

Robert Karrass, and the Karrass Law team are experienced in a range of criminal cases, providing robust arguments and strategic legal advice. The team treats every client with respect and dignity as they advocate for your rights. 


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