Vancouver Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini denied, through a spokesman, allegations in court by his adult children that they were abused.
In a statement sent to Sportsnet by Gary Ross, Aquilini “categorically” denied the allegations made by his ex-wife, Tali’ah, in Vancouver family court on Tuesday.
According to a CBC News report, a B.C. Supreme Court judge heard allegations made by Aquilini’s four adult children that he physically and psychologically abused them when they were young.
The allegations were part of a hearing held to determine whether Aquilini should be required to extend his child support and pay for university expenses for three of his children, who are aged 20, 22 and 24. The fourth child no longer needs support, court heard.
Through a spokesperson, the NHL told Sportsnet it has been in touch with Aquilini and his lawyers about the allegations. “Mr. Aquilini has advised us that he categorically denies the allegations,” the NHL spokesperson said. “We plan to continue to monitor the situation and, if necessary, will respond as we learn more as events unfold.”
Affidavits describing the abuse were submitted by each of the four children to the court, but were not made public. The CBC News report cites Tali’ah’s lawyer, Claire Hunter, reading in court a portion of a letter reportedly sent by one of his children to Francesco Aquilini in March 2020. None of the allegations have been proved in court.
"Your relationship with us is a direct consequence of your treatment toward us, whether you'd like to acknowledge it or not. We all hold many individual accounts of your abuse towards us," the letter reads.
"I would like to formally state that myself and my siblings … wish to have no contact with you, nor would we like you to have access to any of our contact, medical information or other information regarding our lives."
According to CBC News, Tali’ah Aquilini had been providing receipts and other information to Francesco Aquilini with the names of universities and other personal information redacted, reportedly at the request of her children. Francesco Aquilini’s lawyer, Ken McEwan, told the court his client needed to see more information about his children’s attendance and grades, as well as justification for airline flights and a $48,000 computer.
“Ms. Aquilini is disappointed that she has had to go to court once again to try to enforce Mr. Aquilini’s obligation to pay child support for their adult children enrolled in full-time university programs," Hunter said in a statement to Sportsnet. "Each of the four children and Ms. Aquilini have filed affidavit evidence in court, some of which was read out in the course of the hearing yesterday. Mr. Aquilini has been in possession of all of the affidavits for many months and, as I mentioned in court, he has not given any evidence denying any of that affidavit evidence."
Added the statement made on Francesco Aquilini’s behalf, “The couple were divorced and reached a settlement in 2013. Mr. Aquilini has met and will continue to meet any child support obligations required by the law, but he has concerns about the veracity of the information provided in support of financial demands. It is unfortunate that allegations without merit are brought forward for a collateral purpose.”
The judge in the case reserved judgment, and a next court appearance is expected within the coming months.