The retired Mountie who was the BC Liberal minister in charge of universities has joined the board of a company part-owned by a key figure in the U.S. college admissions scandal.
Amrik Virk is a new director of Meridius Resources, a junior mining company located in Vancouver with holdings in Quebec. Point Grey resident David Sidoo, who is charged with mail fraud and money laundering, is corporate secretary and a director of Meridius. His older son Dylan Sidoo is president and CEO and younger son Jordan is a director.
Virk was a one-term BC Liberal MLA in Surrey-Tynehead. He was defeated in the 2017 election in the new Surrey-Guildford riding by another ex-Mountie, Garry Begg of the NDP.
In December 2013, as Advanced Education Minister, Virk signed the cabinet order to appoint former CFL player David Sidoo to the University of B.C. board of governors. Virk did not respond to messages left with the company on May 2.
David Sidoo donated more than $166,000 to the BC Liberals between 2005 and 2017.
He has pleaded not guilty to paying $400,000 for Mark Riddell to write college entrance exams for his sons, who eventually received degrees from universities in California. Riddell pleaded guilty in federal court in Boston and is co-operating with prosecutors. The indictment against David Sidoo also accuses him of paying Riddell to travel to Vancouver in June 2012 to write a provincial exam for Dylan Sidoo.
Virk replaces the resigned Douglas Leishman on the board. His addition to the Meridius board was announced in an April 22 news release that touted his 26-year RCMP career and cabinet posts. It did not mention that Premier Christy Clark shuffled Virk out of Advanced Education before Christmas 2014 and into Technology, Innovation and Citizens Services after he misled the Legislature about a salary top-up for a vice-president at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Virk was the vice-chair of KPU before running for office.
A February information circular for Meridius shows that Dylan and Jordan Sidoo each hold 18.7% of shares in the company and David Sidoo has a 17.4% interest.
Dylan Sidoo graduated in 2016 from the University of Southern California’s film school. Jordan Sidoo graduated in 2018 from the University of California Berkeley with a political economy and history degree. The week after David Sidoo’s March arrest in San Jose, UC Berkeley confirmed that it was investigating Jordan Sidoo’s admission.
The circular states that the company is “currently undertaking a strategic review of its business and, additionally reviewing new business sectors with a view to entering an emerging industry instead of the current business.”
Meridius trades on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol MRI.V. It closed at 18.5 cents on May 2.
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