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Canadian lender Callidus Capital denies allegations of fraud

Callidus Capital Corp. denied a news report that Canadian regulators are looking into whistleblower complaints against Catalyst Capital Group Inc., which is a majority shareholder of the publicly traded lender.

The Wall Street Journal had earlier reported that Ontario Securities Commission officials and a Toronto Police Service unit are making inquiries into Catalyst Capital after four people accused the company of fraud. Citing "people familiar with the matter and documents," the newspaper reported that the whistleblowers accused Catalyst Capital of inflating the value of some of its assets and misinforming borrowers about loan terms. If their claims turn out to be true, each of the complainants may get up to C$5 million under the OSC whistleblower program.

The news outlet added that the inquiries may or may not result in an investigation. Catalyst Capital Managing Partner Newton Glassman and his companies have not been accused by authorities of any wrongdoing.

Callidus Capital saw its stock decline more than 21% to C$12.06 on Aug. 9 at close. The publicly traded lender defended itself and Catalyst Capital in a statement and said the allegations noted in the Journal report are "completely false."

"These allegations presented are primarily based on anonymous sources and are believed to have been initiated by individuals against whom Callidus has current litigation relating to the enforcement of guaranties. Those individuals have already had the opportunity to present their allegations in court without success," the company said.

"[Callidus] knows of no legitimate basis for any whistleblower complaint. It is extraordinary that the press has been given copies of confidential whistleblower reports that neither Callidus nor Catalyst has ever seen. This is an effort by short sellers and others who are attempting to manipulate the market by making false allegations. Once made aware of these reports by the media, the company proactively met with various authorities to discuss these matters in detail," Callidus added.