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Boss of Corrib gas shareholder quits over his Dubai vaccine trip

Donal O'Donovan - Irish Independent

The head of a Canadian investment firm that owns 45pc of the Corrib gas field off the Mayo coast has resigned after he went to Dubai and received a Covid-19 vaccine.

Mark Machin quit as head of Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), a state-linked investor, after defying Justin Trudeau’s government’s guidance to avoid international travel.

Mr Machin submitted his resignation as chief executive officer after discussions with the board, the pension fund said in a statement yesterday.  

Canada’s largest pension fund was thrown into crisis on Thursday when the Wall Street Journal reported Mr Machin’s travel to Dubai.

He drew a rebuke from the office of Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, who rarely comments on CPPIB matters in order to protect the fund’s political independence.

Although leaving the country isn’t illegal, Mr Trudeau and his ministers have repeatedly warned residents not to do it and imposed strict rules to discourage international trips.

It isn’t clear how Mr Machin – who’s in his mid-50s – could have arranged to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in Dubai, where officially it’s available only to people over 60, those who have chronic diseases or disabilities and to front-line workers.

Mr Machin’s trip threatened to become a political headache for Mr Trudeau as he reports to a government-appointed board.

However, Canadians are growing impatient with the pace of the vaccine rollout, which has been the slowest among Group of Seven countries except Japan.

There’s minimal public tolerance in Canada for officials who are caught jumping the vaccine queue or taking discretionary trips abroad.

CPPIB bought Shell’s 45pc stake in the Corrib project in 2018 a deal worth around €900m.


Accounts last year showed the Canadian fund has already taken out €700m in tax-free dividends.

Posted Date: 
27 February 2021