Former Taku River Tlingit executive accused of embezzling over $500k

The Taku River Tlingit First Nation has filed a civil lawsuit against former executive Peter Kirby.

The Taku River Tlingit First Nation (TRTFN) in northern B.C. is suing one of its former executives, claiming he stole from the First Nation’s corporate businesses.

The civil suit, filed in the B.C. Supreme Court, is directed at Peter Kirby, a TRTFN band member and former head of TRTFN corporations Atlin Ltd. and Atlin Power Limited.

As president and CEO of Tlingit Homeland Energy Limited Partnership, Kirby was a vocal proponent of the Atlin hydroelectric project. The proposed project would be owned and operated by TRTFN.

According to the statement of claim, “On August 22, 2022, Mr. Kirby secretly caused $500,000 to be transferred out of Xeitl LP’s bank account and into the bank account of Atlin LP.”

The court records said that this transfer “was outside of the ordinary course of business, and there was no legitimate reason for it. Rather it made for the improper purpose of facilitating Mr. Kirby’s misappropriation of funds from the plaintiffs.”

The statement added, “On August 26, 2022, Mr. Kirby signed a cheque to himself from the bank account of Atlin LP in the amount of $516,419.19.”

The records allege that Kirby transferred an additional $23,829.97 between July and August 2022.

According to the lawsuit, Kirby misappropriated funds totalling $540,249 between July 16 and August 29, 2022.

The records show in May 2022 TRTFN began conducting financial reviews, leading it to make several requests to Kirby for corporate financial records.

It said Kirby refused to comply or provide any records, and that a Clan directive from TRTFN for Kirby to provide the records went unanswered.

None of the allegations have been tested in court.

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The lawsuit alleges Kirby resigned without notice just three days after the date of his last illegal transfer.

“Mr. Kirby’s conduct was deceitful and amounts to fraud,” the lawsuit states. “Mr. Kirby unlawfully converted the funds of the plaintiffs for his personal benefit.”

The TRTFN allege in the records that after transferring “himself the Misappropriated funds on August 29, 2022, Mr. Kirby purportedly resigned from his position as chief executive officer” of the companies he was in charge of. On August, 30, he resigned as president.

According to the statement of claim, Kirby didn’t provide “notice of his resignations.”

TRTFN is suing Kirby for the total amount of the lost funds plus interest, as well as general and special damages, including fraud, unjust enrichment and breach of fiduciary duty.

TRTFN declined to comment, stating the matter was before the courts.

Kirby could not be reached for comment. He has not yet filed a response.

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