Alarm signals at Celcius well before the Caisse's investment

Warning signals at Celcius long before the Caisse’s investment

and Jean-François Cloutier MISE À DAY

The Caisse de depot et placement du Québec bet, in 2021, $200 million on a poorly managed cryptocurrency firm, when there had already been worrying alarm signals for a long time.< /strong>

A nearly 700-page report filed this week as part of Celsius's insolvency proceedings provides troubling new details about how the cryptocurrency firm was run.

The scathing document sheds a harsh light on the firm and raises the question once again as to how the Caisse could have invested so many millions in 2021 in the company described by many as a Ponzi scheme.

   She felt compelled 

   The Caisse wanted to invest in something they felt compelled to go because it was a world that was opening up, cryptocurrencies,” says Luc Bernier, professor of public and international affairs at the University of Ottawa.

“There were big governance issues. We're not talking about niches or little things. The problems were major: accounting not clear, risk management system absent, information difficult to obtain » says Ivan Tchoutourian, professor of law at Laval University.

According to the report by former prosecutor Shoba Pillay, Celsius had no risk policy before the end of 2020. There was no substance in risk management until early 2021. And there was no written risk management policy until 2021.

“Celsius did not employ any specialized tax specialist during the first three years of its existence”, she observes in particular.

Two signatories at the Caisse

In recent days, Le Journal got hold of a court document showing that the agreement signed between the Caisse and Celsius was ratified by two senior executives representing the woolen stocking Quebecers.

It shows that Mathieu Provost, Senior Director, Caisse Investment Policy Advisory Services, and Thomas Birch, Vice-President, Venture Capital and Technologies, signed their names.  

Tom Birch and Mathieu Provost, the two senior executives of the Caisse who signed the $200 million investment agreement with Celcius.

In July, Le Journalreported that Thomas Birch once headed a firm in which the former CEO of Celsius, Alex Mashinsky, invested, but the Fund had assured that “there was no real or apparent conflict of interest 

The Journal was unable to speak to them on Wednesday. 

Warning signals at Celcius long before Caisse investment

Kate Monfette
Spokesperson for the Caisse

Joined by Le Journal, the Caisse said it had read the report.

< p>“We reserve all of our rights with respect to any material of interest or false and misleading representations that may come to light in the course of the legal processes and investigations currently underway,” said a door-to-door contact via email. word, Kate Monfette.  

Celsius did not respond to our interview requests. 


  • According to a New York State lawsuit against Celcius boss Alex Mashinsky as early as 2018, he was engaged in a scheme to defraud hundreds of thousands of investors. 
  • The number of investors was exaggerated as early as 2019. Two-thirds of clients had less than a dollar in their account, according to the New York State remedy. 
  • Celsius was using QuickBooks accounting software targeted at small businesses and inappropriate for its operations, according to the report released this week. 
  • In January 2021, a senior executive at Celsius said in an internal communication that his title should be “Ponzi consultant”. (later saying it was a joke in bad taste).

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