A memoir by alleged fraudster Arthur Porter has been optioned for film and television by a yet-to-be-announced Montreal production company.
Porter, who has been detained in a Panamanian prison on Canadian fraud charges since May 2013, where he is also in treatment for stage-4 lung cancer, has penned a memoir with Ottawa-based journalist T.R. Todd. The Man Behind the Bow Tie focuses on Porter’s upbringing in Sierra Leone, and his rise (and fall) in business and politics in Canada, the U.S., and the Caribbean. The book will be released by Figure 1 Publishing in September.
Scandal has followed Porter through various high-profile positions, including CEO of McGill University’s Health Centre, to which it is alleged that Porter owes more than $300,000. Porter also served as chair of the Security Intelligence Review Committee (known as Canada’s spy watchdog), but stepped down in December 2011 when the National Post published an account of his questionable business dealings in his native Sierra Leone. In 2013, Porter was arrested in Panama on charges related to the SNC-Lavalin corruption scandal involving the construction of McGill’s health centre.
Todd says that neither he nor Porter will be involved in the making of the film, which could be a feature-length documentary or made-for-TV movie. While the production’s focus is to be determined, Todd says it will draw on both the book and other sources recounting Porter’s more recent history.
“So much is happening now that won’t be in the book, such as his lawsuit in Panama, such as whatever happens to him in prison, whether he is released or extradited,” says Todd. “In a lot of ways the most exiting stuff is really to come.”
UPDATE: July 9: Although Porter has been detained on criminal charges, he has not been convicted and denies any wrongdoing. T.R. Todd says The Man Behind the Bow Tie is intended to tell Porter’s side of the story.