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Postby Dorcy » Thu Dec 29, 2005 10:49 am

(G&M)- Toronto forensic accountant Al Rosen said he was not surprised a criminal investigation had been launched. Mr. Rosen has examined the trading records of several stocks and income trusts on the day the government announced the policy changes. "My guess was that there was an over 90 per cent probability of insider trading," he said. "It required an investigation."

Mr. Rosen said trading records suggest unusual price movements and volume levels in both dividend stocks and income trusts and that the trading was being driven by certain Bay Street firms.

"Obviously it's a deep concern about integrity," he said.

Mr. Rosen said the investigation should focus on both the source of the alleged leak and who would have benefited from information.
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Postby admin » Wed Dec 28, 2005 6:37 pm

RCMP Launches Criminal Investigation Of Liberal Government

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Wed 28 Dec 2005

NDP Calls on Finance Minister Goodale to step aside
OTTAWA - Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli has written to NDP Finance critic Judy Wasylycia-Leis to confirm that that the RCMP has launched a criminal investigation into the Liberal government, related to the income trust issue.

Letter from RCMP to Judy Wasylycia-Leis
Mr. Zaccardelli confirmed that the RCMP has launched a criminal investigation "regarding a possible breach of security or illegal transfer of information in advance of the federal government's announcement of changes to the taxation of Canadian corporate dividends and income trusts November 23, 2005."

In light of this development, Wasylycia-Leis today called on Liberal Finance Minister Ralph Goodale to step aside from his Cabinet role, until the criminal investigation is complete.

"Mr. Goodale is personally responsible to ensure his office and his department protect average Canadians from the consequences of improper disclosures," Wasylycia-Leis said. "Mr. Goodale has stonewalled this issue for a month now, insisting without any qualification that there is nothing to this issue. There is now a criminal investigation underway. Since the conduct of Mr. Goodale's office and officials are likely to be directly involved, Mr. Goodale should step aside from his duties as Finance Minister today."
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Postby Dell » Tue Dec 27, 2005 4:46 pm

Accountability Research's "The Worst Is Yet To Come" Trust report is now available on sipa.to
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Postby Cynic » Fri Dec 16, 2005 5:28 am

The Conservatives and the NDP should continue to press for a federal, independent investigation into the November 23rd trading activity. However, if they don't get it, the Americans may wind up riding to the rescue. BCE also trades on the NYSE, as does Bank of Nova Scotia. The SEC and its far more independent management might well choose to start looking into any unusual trading patterns inside the American exchanges. That could let Wilson off the hook -- or perhaps make his life a lot more complicated than it already is.

UPDATE AND BUMP: I'll let this one ride on top today. The key part to remember is that either the OSC or the RCMP would have to investigate this if anyone does at all, and unfortunately David Wilson gets to make that call for the time being. Eventually it will fall to the Ontario provincial government if Wilson punts, who will likely not have too much enthusiasm for exploring yet another Liberal Party financial scandal.



Ya think?? I believe we can expect about as much action on this as Southern Ontario got snow last night. Lots of hype, lots of wind and little in the way of material. On a kinder note, we are one day closer to Spring!
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Postby Cynic » Fri Dec 16, 2005 5:28 am

The Conservatives and the NDP should continue to press for a federal, independent investigation into the November 23rd trading activity. However, if they don't get it, the Americans may wind up riding to the rescue. BCE also trades on the NYSE, as does Bank of Nova Scotia. The SEC and its far more independent management might well choose to start looking into any unusual trading patterns inside the American exchanges. That could let Wilson off the hook -- or perhaps make his life a lot more complicated than it already is.

UPDATE AND BUMP: I'll let this one ride on top today. The key part to remember is that either the OSC or the RCMP would have to investigate this if anyone does at all, and unfortunately David Wilson gets to make that call for the time being. Eventually it will fall to the Ontario provincial government if Wilson punts, who will likely not have too much enthusiasm for exploring yet another Liberal Party financial scandal.



Ya think?? I believe we can expect about as much action on this as Southern Ontario got snow last night. Lots of hype, lots of wind and little in the way of material. On a kinder note, we are one day closer to Spring!
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Postby admin » Fri Dec 16, 2005 12:55 am

Who Will Investigate The Liberal Insider Trading Scandal?
The insider trading scandal continues to fester this week as none of the normal agencies that would have jurisdiction have yet to announce any sort of investigation. The Medisys trades may only have been the tip of the iceberg, according to a CQ reader with knowledge of Canadian financial markets, and a check on the winners from the run on income trusts on November 23rd might demonstrate why Canadians may not get an investigation at all -- at least until the Americans decide to check into the action.

On Tuesday, Ontario House member Michael Prue (NDP - Beaches/East York) stood to query the Minister of Government Service, Gerry Philips, on why he had not initiated an independent investigation into the series of trades on income trusts that took place just hours before Goodale announced an end to taxation on these investment products, boosting their value considerably. Philips replied that the Ontario Securities Commission has the responsibility to perform oversight on any such trades, and that the new chief of the OSC, W. David Wilson, had to make that decision. Prue replied:

Minister, W. David Wilson, your new chair of the Ontario Securities Commission, has been silent to date on this matter. One only has to take a quick scan of the Elections Canada Web site to show that Mr. Wilson is an avid financial supporter of the Liberal Party of Canada, the only party to which he donates money. Mr. Wilson has already been forced to recuse himself from investigations into the Royal Group due to a potential conflict. You agreed with that. Today, Judy Wasylycia-Leis, the federal NDP critic, has asked Mr. Wilson to recuse himself again. I am asking you this question: Will you support the effort and will you order Mr. Wilson to recuse himself in this situation?
It turns out, however, that David Wilson has more reason to recuse himself than just his party affiliation. Wilson received his appointment as chairman of the OSC after working as CEO of Scotia Capital Markets until his official appointment to the OSC on November 1, 2005, just twenty-two days before this event. Why is this important? One of the revelations to come out in the last couple of days is a previously undisclosed meeting that Finance Minister Ralph Goodale held with Investment Dealers Association earlier on the 23rd. Shortly after this meeting ended, unusual volumes began trading in income trusts such as Yellow Pages, Aeroplan, Superior Plus, and BCE (a dividend equity).

A look at the trades for November 23rd shows that Scotia Capital played a large role in moving the shares of these products. Look at Yellow Pages as an example; in the PDF, Scotia Capital is broker #85. SC starts off by selling large chunks of Yellow Pages at $14.12 right from the opening bell. Through 10:30, they're still primarily selling even though the price has moved up to $14.36. Beginning at 11 am, they suddenly begin buying in small amounts, and then at 11:26 start buying in higher volumes -- almost 20,000 between 11:26 and 11:29, even though the price had moved up to $14.50. SC sells off a couple of thousand shares later in the hour at $14.65, and then nibbles most of the next couple of hours. At 14:22, SC suddenly starts selling again at $14.60, dumping several thousand shares while the price drops a few cents. Starting at 14:57 and continuing through the end of the session at 16:00, the stock explodes in volume, with a number of players pushing the stock price over $15.00 by the closing bell.

Or, for that matter, take a look at the trading pattern and volume for equity product BCE. The following large-volume trades took place with the major investment brokers on the Toronto Stock Exchange:

10:15:35 50,000 shares Scotia Capital
10:36:48 100,000 shares Scotia Capital
10:39:21 50,000 shares Desjardins
11:43:45 98,400 shares TD Securities
14:53:08 100,000 shares CIBC World Markets
15:42:59 50,000 shares Blackmont
15:56:36 50,000 shares CIBC World Markets

After the day was over, SC parent Bank of Nova Scotia shares rose to their highest level all year, $47.10, the next day. The stock peaked at $1 per share on the 24th, better than a dollar an hour higher than the stock price on the 22nd, a day before Goodale's meeting. Scotia Capital played a major role in moving large transactions for all four trusts on November 23rd.

All of this could just be a coincidence, of course, but the notion of coincidence keeps getting brought up as a possible defense, one that sounds weaker with each invocation. But unless the OSC decides to pursue an investigation, no defense will be necessary. And it appears that despite Wilson's words that "[d]eterrence is achieved when everyone knows with certainty that the enforcement of regulations will be impartial, swift and uncompromising", the ties to his former company have put the OSC chief in a position where he wants to take as much time as possible deciding whether he wants this investigated at all, let alone independently.

The Conservatives and the NDP should continue to press for a federal, independent investigation into the November 23rd trading activity. However, if they don't get it, the Americans may wind up riding to the rescue. BCE also trades on the NYSE, as does Bank of Nova Scotia. The SEC and its far more independent management might well choose to start looking into any unusual trading patterns inside the American exchanges. That could let Wilson off the hook -- or perhaps make his life a lot more complicated than it already is.

UPDATE AND BUMP: I'll let this one ride on top today. The key part to remember is that either the OSC or the RCMP would have to investigate this if anyone does at all, and unfortunately David Wilson gets to make that call for the time being. Eventually it will fall to the Ontario provincial government if Wilson punts, who will likely not have too much enthusiasm for exploring yet another Liberal Party financial scandal.

Posted by Captain Ed at 07:48 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0)
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Another Captains Quarters Blog on Canada

Postby urquhart » Sat Dec 10, 2005 6:20 pm

December 10, 2005
Insider Trading Scandal Deepens For Martin
Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin may face more questions about personal ethics in the exploding scandal surrounding the alleged insider trading involving the Finance Minister's office and the announcement of monetary policy two weeks ago. Blogger MK Braaten has done some investigative reporting on the winners the day the policy got announced -- and found out that one of the biggest traded its shares at 3400% its normal volume in the hours prior to the announcement:

According to STOCKTRENDS.ca, the day before the Goodale income trust announcement, the trading volume of Medisys Income Trust was 226,500, with a value of $2,604,750, average trade was $37,750, and a total of 68 transactions. According to StockTrends.ca, this stock was listed as trading at “Unusual Volumes“. Click here for the report.
The volume of shares traded for Paul Martin linked Medisys Income Trust shares the day before the Income Trust announcement is way to high to be a ‘co-incidence’. The volume increased 3400% from the prior day, and the following day, dropped back down about the same amount.

Its said that Paul Martins personal doctor started a medical company called Medisys Income Trust, a chain of private health care clinics located across Canada.

The day before the Goodale income trust announcement, the volume of Medisys shares traded for the day went from 5,714 on November 21, to 203,953 on Novemeber 22. On November 23, the shares traded dropped back down to 6,220.


Amazingly, the sale of shares at thirty-four times their normal rate came just two days after a negative assessment from a respected stock analyst, Jennings Capital. Angry in GWN picks up on this:

In fact, in 2005, from a peak $15.21 in the summer, Medisys was on a downward trend, dropping 30% of its value until late November, earning another negative report on November 21, just two days before the income trust announcement.
I can only assume no one from Ralph Goodale's office called Jennings Capital Inc.

Whoever decided to ignore that negative report and picked up an astonishing 200,000 shares really picked exactly the right time.

I bet Dr. Elman will have a big smile on his face when Paul Martin comes for his next visit.


Indeed. When Jennings Capital issued its report, Medisys traded at $10.80. After the big trades -- in only 68 transactions, by the way -- the price had risen to $11.02, and as of last Friday had come up to $13.25. That represents a profit of somewhere north of $400,000. It seems as though someone knew that Ralph Goodale would issue a report favorable for income trusts and got into the market just ahead of most everyone else.

Read Angry and MK Braaten at the above links for more on this issue. In the meanwhile, the National Post reports that Goodale had a meeting with investment directors and discussed income trusts hours before he announced the new policy, a meeting which Goodale didn't reveal:

Finance Minister Ralph Goodale had an hour-long meeting with senior representatives of Canada's investment community at which the issue of income trusts were discussed only hours before his decision on the issue was announced, CanWest News Service has learned. ...
``There was a very vague, very general discussion,'' Embury said, adding that it dealt with the association's planned submission on the income trusts issue. ``They left the meeting no wiser than when they came through the door.'' ...

Conservative finance critic Monte Solberg expressed surprise when told of the meeting.

``The minister should be completely candid and release a list of all the people he had meetings with that week on the income trust issue,'' Solberg said. ``One of the things that I find frustrating is that it's only after information drifts out that they admit that they met with this group or that group, or that somebody got some kind of a phone call.

``This doesn't do anything to instil confidence in the minister or the minister's office,'' Solberg said, adding that his party will continue to ``push'' for an investigation into the issue by the Ontario Securities Commission or the RCMP into the issue.


I don't know about anyone else, but I find the assertion that senior representatives of the investment community had a meeting with the Canadian finance minister and wound up no wiser about investments a hilarious explanation. Is Ralph that incompetent that an hour of his time gains no one any insight into Canadian markets? Obviously, though, someone got wise that day. For a stock that normally trades in the low four figures on a daily basis, having over 200,000 shares transacted in just 68 purchases shows either an amazing coincidence or, more likely, a handful of individual investors got advance warning that Goodale would favor the exact kind of income trust that Paul Martin's personal friends had founded.

This story has legs, especially since there seems now to be a connection to Martin and his friends. Will the RCMP and/or the OSC start an investigation into the manipulation of the income-trust market? We'll not hold our breath ...
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From Captains Quarters Blog, Minneapolis

Postby urquhart » Fri Dec 09, 2005 5:54 pm

December 08, 2005
Harper Calls For Goodale Resignation Over Insider Trading Scandal
Tory leader and PM candidate Stephen Harper called for the resignation of Ralph Goodale over allegations of Liberal involvement in insider trading based on early warning of policy decisions by Goodale. The Finance Minister's office stands accused of leaking information to selected investors in order to allow them to profit off of policy statements before being made public:

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper called today for Finance Minister Ralph Goodale to resign his cabinet post, saying that there is "growing evidence" that there was a leak of policy changes for income trusts that sparked trading in financial markets and that the information "may have leaked from senior Liberal sources."
"I would say that given the revelations we now have, given the information we now know, that in any country, in any other advanced democratic country where we had a government that operated according to normal ethical standards, the finance minister would have already resigned, rather than continuing to deny and stonewall information," Mr. Harper told reporters at a campaign stop in North Bay, Ont.

"I hope they'll take responsibility, Mr. Goodale will step aside, and we'll get to the bottom of this."

Mr. Goodale announced on Nov. 23 a reversal of the freeze of tax rulings on income trusts, but there was a flurry of trading in the trusts on financial markets hours before the announcement. Mr. Goodale has denied any leak, and said there are authorities to investigate such allegations.


This scandal appears to have escalated rather quickly, as opposed to the slow build of interest in Adscam over the past year. Investor's Voice has also called for a public investigation by the Ontario Security Commission in order to restore public trust in the FMO. Diane Urquhart, the investor advocate, appeared on the television show Business Morning to demand an annoucement so that Canadians can continue to have faith in the investment markets (video here). Goodale has denied releasing any information prior to his speech, but market specialists like Urquhart suspect something happened; the pattern of exploitation appears too strong to be coincidental.

At the very least, Urquhart has it right -- Canada needs an independent investigation that follows the money of those who benefited from these transactions and find out the connections of those involved. This could get bigger than Adscam.

Posted by Captain Ed at 10:31 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0)
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Postby Dell » Fri Dec 09, 2005 12:55 pm

"Some investment bankers are actually lobbying clients to harass their MPs into allowing the business trust fleecing to continue." (Al Rosen, Canadian Business)
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US Blog on Canada's Illegal Insider Trading of Income Trusts

Postby urquhart » Thu Dec 08, 2005 8:34 pm

Tonight Captains Quarters in Minneapolis has covered the allegations of illegal insider trading of income trusts in Canada before the Goodale announcement. Check his blog site at the address below. Remember that Captain Quarters covered the portions of the Gomery Commission that were subject to the Canadian media ban.



http://www.captainsquartersblog.com/mt/
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FMF

Postby Donald » Tue Dec 06, 2005 1:51 pm

Fry Burn Fry Fry! www.jruslaw.com is going for five times investor losses or over $1billion.
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Postby admin » Tue Dec 06, 2005 8:55 am

FMF investors target BMO in suit
Michigan class action alleges underwriter conspired with firm to underplay risks

By DEREK DeCLOET

Tuesday, December 6, 2005 Posted at 3:31 AM EST



A U.S. law firm is targeting BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. in a class-action suit by investors in FMF Capital Group Ltd., a failed income trust that went public nine months ago.
The lawsuit, filed yesterday in a Michigan court, accuses Bank of Montreal's investment banking unit and a U.S. subsidiary, Harris Nesbitt Corp., of conspiring with FMF management to perpetrate a fraud during the marketing of the $197-million initial public offering.

FMF is a U.S. mortgage company that was spun into a trust and listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange in March. Investors were promised an initial yield of 11 per cent, but FMF shocked the market last month when it said it would suspend distributions. BMO Nesbitt was the lead underwriter.

The share price closed yesterday at a record low of 53 cents, down 94.7 per cent from the IPO.

Despite its TSX listing, FMF has no assets or offices in Canada, "which is why we're going after them in the U.S.," said Eli Karp, an associate in the Toronto office of Juroviesky and Ricci LLP, which filed the civil case. "The Michigan executives took their money out . . . they sold their business to the Canadian public and walked away."
Three FMF executives, who held just over 90 per cent of the company, sold the majority of their stake in the IPO. Chief executive officer Robert Pilcowitz, chief financial officer Howard Morof and chief operating officer Edan King are named as defendants.

Five other Bay Street firms -- National Bank Financial Inc., TD Securities Inc., Canaccord Capital Corp., Blackmont Capital Inc. and Sprott Securities Inc. -- are named as defendants. All were part of FMF's underwriting syndicate.

One of the key accusations is that FMF covered up key risks in its business, including the fact that the company could be stuck with mortgages it didn't want, and that BMO failed to properly investigate it before it agreed to handle the deal.

BMO Nesbitt spokeswoman Mirette Ghanem said the bank would not comment. None of the allegations has been proved in court.

FMF's business model was to lend money to borrowers with lower credit scores then turn around and sell the loans to investors at a profit, usually within about a month. But in November, FMF said several institutions had walked away from the mortgage market and the company was forced to buy back mortgages it had already sold because the borrowers had quickly defaulted on them.

The lawsuit charges that FMF buried those risks through its accounting, which failed to make an estimate for losses for bad loans the company was on the hook for.

"Executive management did not, and have never planned to have enough money in their reserve to cover their repurchase liability," it says. "In BMO's role as lead underwriter and in the course of its so-called 'due diligence,' it failed to identify the type of blatant misstatements and half-truths promulgated by executive management that perverted the financial statements and condition of the issuer."

Class-action lawsuits are still fairly rare for Canadian-listed companies. Investment dealers can be held liable for investors' losses, but it is rare. Even in one of the largest frauds in Canadian history -- the collapse of Bre-X Minerals Ltd. -- investors dropped a class-action after Nesbitt Burns agreed to cover their legal costs.

In that case, though, the suit was based on analysts' reports recommending Bre-X shares. In an IPO, the investment dealer who's leading an underwriting has to meet a higher standard of due diligence, said Adam Balinsky, a lawyer at Baker & McKenzie LLP in Toronto.
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Inome Trusts

Postby Stan » Sun Dec 04, 2005 4:04 pm

The Accountability Research Report on Business Income Trusts will be posted on the SIPA website (www.sipa.ca) after December 12, 2005. There will be a link on the SIPA Home page to our WebPage on Income Trusts. The ARC Report will be listed along with comments and articles currently on the WebPage.

Stan Buell
Small Investor Protection Association
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Postby Guest » Fri Dec 02, 2005 11:21 am

FINANCIAL POST

Trusts matter refuses to die down

Barry Critchley
Financial Post

Thursday, December 01, 2005



One week on after federal Finance Minister Ralph Goodale announced there would be major changes in the way dividends are taxed but no changes to the taxation of income trusts, the matter refuses to die down.
The issue of who knew what prior to Goodale's announcement, which was delivered a couple of hours after the markets closed, continues to dominate the talk on Bay Street and beyond. Goodale's opponents and the opposition in the Ontario Legislature have taken up the matter. All want the Ontario Securities Commission to open a file. Reports say the RCMP has started a review of trading prior to the announcement.
"There is a consensus on the street that something is amiss based on the trading volumes and the rise in prices on what is supposed to be one of the slowest trading days of the year," said one market participant when referring to the events of last Wednesday, the day before U.S. Thanksgiving. And what bothers this participant is that while some investors profited, "you can be sure that it's not the average investor."
Another market participant said, "I definitely saw some strong buying late in the afternoon. At around 2 p.m. we started to see some strong indicative buying that was out of the ordinary [compared with] what we would have seen for the dividend-paying stocks beforehand."
This participant's overall view: "There was some insight that was dead-on."
Another participant added that talk about an announcement from Ottawa regarding dividends and income trusts would constitute a reasonable "heads-up" once the environment is factored in. "The government is in trouble, they are being pushed to an election, so I would be very hard-pressed to think that any bad news would be coming out. The conventional wisdom was that they were going to come out with a Christmas gift."
Given the widely held perception that news about an announcement from Ottawa filtered out after lunch on Nov. 23, this column analyzed the trading -- in both volume and price -- for some of the companies that would be affected by Goodale's announcement. We contacted a friendly brokerage firm, which helped us by dividing the trading day into three segments: 9:30 a.m. to noon; noon to 2 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. This is what we found:
BCE INC. This stock, which pays a quarterly dividend of 33 cents, enjoyed a banner day last Wednesday. Before lunch, the stock fell by 29 cents to $26.46 but staged a rather remarkable recovery in the afternoon to gain $1.44, or 5.55%. It closed at $27.90, up $1.30 on the day. Volume was 4.8 million shares, of which four million were traded prior to lunch.
CI FINANCIAL This stock -- unusual in that it shelved plans to convert to an income trust -- enjoyed a busy day last Wednesday. The shares gained 93 cents on the day and the volume -- at 4.3 million shares -- was seven times normal and seven times the number of shares that were traded the previous day. The issuer pays a 6 cents-a-quarter dividend.
Prior to lunch, the shares were off by 0.81%. (The shares traded at $22.12 at noon.) After everyone had a bellyful of food, the stock roared ahead in the afternoon and gained 5.2% to close at $23.28. Given that the shares were trading at $22.65 at 2 p.m., the numbers indicate that the shares gained 63 cents in the final two hours of the day. Almost half the shares traded for the day were traded after 2 p.m.

MANITOBA TELECOM SERVICES INC. This stock is one of the highest dividend payers on the TSX. Investors receive 65 cents a quarter -- or $2.60 a year -- and the stock trades around $40. Last Wednesday, the stock posted a 49 cents, or 1.2%, gain in the morning and reached $41.48 at noon. After lunch, the stock gathered momentum and tacked on another 92 cents to reach $42.20 by the close -- a 3.5% gain for the day. Between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. the stock added 42 cents, or 1%. More than half the shares traded for the day were done before lunch.
ROYAL BANK OF CANADA The country's largest issuer and largest financial institution -- which pays a dividend of 64 cents a quarter -- tacked on 92 cents last Wednesday on twice the normal daily volume. Most of the gain was recorded before lunch but between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., the stock added 47 cents. For the day, 1.98 million shares were traded -- almost twice the level of the previous day -- with the volume about equally split between pre- and post-lunch.
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