The Financial Post reports in its Wednesday edition that an independent investigator hired by Florida-based Liberty Health Sciences to probe claims of self-dealing made in a short-seller report in December has concluded that the allegations were "materially inaccurate," according to Liberty Health. The Post's Vanmala Subramaniam writes that in December, short seller Hindenburg Research released a series of reports critical of Aphria, its then-chief executive officer Vic Neufeld and private equity investor Andy DeFrancesco, alleging that Aphria had overpaid for international assets as part of a "scheme" to benefit company insiders.
One allegation involved Liberty Health's purchase of an entity called 242 Cannabis LLC for $13.5-million (U.S.), just six days after 242 Cannabis bought a Florida property for $6.5-million (U.S.). The short sellers alleged that the private shell entities that made up 242 Cannabis were registered to Mr. DeFrancesco's spouse.
The third party report concluded that this allegation was misleading because although the vendors of 242 Cannabis had indeed realized a gain from this transaction, Liberty Health itself bought 242 Cannabis for a "price that was below fair market value, resulting in a net benefit to the company."
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