June 14th, 2024

Canadian businessman Frank Stronach charged in sex assault probe spanning decades

By Anja Karadeglija, The Canadian Press on June 7, 2024.

Frank Stronach speaks at his final AGM in Markham, Ont. on Wednesday, May 4, 2011. Police west of Toronto have laid five charges against Canadian businessman and billionaire Frank Stronach related to a sexual assault investigation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

The man who rose to prominence in corporate Canada as founder of one of the country’s largest auto parts makers now stands accused of five sex-related offenses involving more than one victim over multiple decades, police said Friday as they announced the charges against Frank Stronach.

Peel Regional Police provided few details about their investigation, but said the 91-year-old founder and former head of Magna International is facing one count of rape, one count of indecent assault on a female, one count of forcible confinement and two counts of sexual assault.

A news release from the force said the alleged incidents took place between an unspecified time in the 1980s and 2023, and Const. Tyler Bell later clarified there was “more than one” complainant in the case.

“This is a very high-profile case and releasing certain information may impact the privacy of the victims,” he said in an email. “We understand the significant public interest in this investigation. To protect the identity and privacy of the victims and to maintain the integrity of the judicial process, we will not be providing further information at this time.”

Criminal defense lawyer Brian Greenspan said he is representing Stronach, who “categorically denies the allegations of impropriety which have been brought against him.”

“He looks forward to the opportunity to fully respond to the charges and to maintain his legacy, both as a philanthropist and as an icon of the Canadian business community,” Greenspan said in a statement.

Bell said Stronach was released on conditions and is set to appear at a Brampton, Ont., courthouse on July 8.

A spokesperson for Magna said company officials were aware of charges against Stronach, but noted he has had no affiliation with the organization since relinquishing control in 2010.

“Magna has no knowledge of the investigation or the allegations that have been raised beyond what has been reported in the media,” Tracy Fuerst said in an email.

Fuerst said the company would not provide any further comment on the ongoing legal matter.

Stronach, who was born in Austria, became one of Canada’s wealthiest people by creating Magna in his garage in 1957 and building it into one of the world’s largest suppliers of auto parts.

He also founded The Stronach Group, a company that specializes in horse racing, as well as founding Stronach International in 2018, a company focusing on organic foods and “micro-electric mobility.”

He resigned as Magna’s chairman in 2011 and then stepped down from Magna’s board entirely the following year to focus on his political aspirations in his native Austria.

Stronach founded his own political party in 2012 in Austria that proposed reforming the euro and introducing a flat tax.

He is the father of former Canadian politician Belinda Stronach, who served as a Member of Parliament for the Conservative Party before famously crossing the floor of the House of Commons to join the Liberals.

In 2018, he sued his daughter, two grandchildren and a former business associate for more than $500 million in Ontario Superior Court, alleging they mismanaged the family’s assets and conspired to take control of them.

The lawsuit was settled in 2020 with a deal that split the family fortune across two factions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 7, 2024.

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