Ari Ben-Menashe, a Montreal-based war zone lobbyist who is embroiled in a battle with Ottawa over losing his banking and credit card access, says he has now had his car insurance cancelled — for a cited reason of “moral risk.”
Four additional insurance companies have also refused to take his business, he said, as he scrambled Monday to find coverage for his two Maseratis and a BMW. He says the designation is unwarranted and deeply political.
“I have no claims, no tickets, no charges, no accidents. Never a problem,” he told National Post.
Ben-Menashe sees the problem as another attack over political dissent in the federal government’s campaign against him because of his controversial business with clients in hotspots and conflict zones around the world.
“Nobody is willing to renew it. Why is Mr. Trudeau and his government the arbiters of Canadian morality?” he said.
Why is Mr. Trudeau and his government the arbiters of Canadian morality?
Ben-Menashe is a lobbyist of last resort for many military and political leaders around the world. His list of clients has included militia leaders, despots, renegade generals, presidents, revolutionaries, and warlords.
He hasn’t been able to open a bank account in Canada for the past 10 years because bank after bank refused him as a client. He also lost his elite American Express Centurion card, a black titanium credit card with no limit. He sued the banks and credit card company, and most recently the federal government agencies overseeing the banking industry, without success.
He is also fighting the Canada Revenue Agency over a tax dispute after simultaneous audits of tax returns going back to 2012 for himself, his company Dickens & Madson, and those of his wife. This summer he won a court case overturning Ottawa’s secret order to help tax officials collect $7.6 million in claimed back taxes.
He sees his tax audits, banking restrictions, and now his insurance ban as part of a campaign against him by the Trudeau government because his business has embarrassed Ottawa on the world stage, particularly Chrystia Freeland when she oversaw foreign affairs, and who is now finance minister.
Freeland has previously denied being behind retribution against Ben-Menashe.
Arms broker. Spy. Warlord lobbyist. The man who twists the world turns on Ottawa
Montreal’s Ari Ben-Menashe says Canadian banks have denied him service, and you could be next
Ben-Menashe said he learned Friday his automobile policies with Intact Insurance were expiring and would not be renewed. On Monday, he said he asked why and was told it was for “moral risk.”
“They can’t say I’m a bad driver, they can’t say that they took my licence away, that I crashed the car, I was drunk — they can’t say anything like that, because it didn’t happen,” he said. “Nobody gave me a ticket. I just got a new driver’s licence for another eight years, on my birthday.
“I’m not doing anything illegal. If I did anything illegal, I would have made their life very easy, they would come and take me away, but we do not do anything illegal.
“When they have nothing else to say, they call it ‘moral risk.’”
He has complained to Intact, he said.
“We’re in the middle of fighting with them, or arguing with them, or talking with them, whatever.”
David Barrett, media director for Intact, one of Canada’s largest personal insurance companies, said the company could not discuss customer files for privacy reasons.
Ben-Menashe said his Montreal insurance broker, Malouin Assurance, has been trying to find him a new insurer without success. At least four additional firms turned him away, he said. Shelley Smith, a broker with Malouin Assurance, said she could not discuss Ben-Menashe’s case for privacy reasons.
Ben-Menashe said he also complained to the Insurance Bureau of Canada
Pierre Babinsky, the Quebec director of communications and public affairs with the Insurance Bureau of Canada, said he also couldn’t discuss specifics of Ben-Menashe’s file but said there are regulations in Quebec to ensure everyone has access to a minimal level of automobile insurance.
“No one is left without access to the basic automobile insurance necessary to drive a car,” he said. There are mechanisms through the Groupement des Assureurs Automobiles to force insurers to provide a minimal liability policy to customers.
Ben-Menashe said he is looking for other avenues of appeal.
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