Rare annulment granted after wife defrauds husband
KIRK MAKIN – JUSTICE REPORTER
Friday, November 24, 2006
An Iranian immigrant has been granted a rare marriage annulment on the basis that his wife perpetrated a massive fraud to win his affections settle in Canada, and leech off him.
At the centre of the case is a love-struck swain — 42-year-old Farzad Torfehnejad — who made the mistake of pursuing a young Iranian woman who feigned affection until the moment she had a Canadian visa.
The 32-year-old woman, Parisa Salimi, not only refused to consummate her marriage to Mr. Torfehnejad after her arrival in Canada; she quickly applied for welfare and only contacted her husband weeks later to demand her dowry of 500 gold coins, said Ontario Superior Court Judge Susan Greer.
“The respondent's deception and fraud continued from the time she stepped foot off the airplane at Toronto airport, and continued as she attempted to get a divorce and financial support both from the applicant and from the City of Toronto welfare authorities,” Judge Greer said.
“She is essentially looking to the applicant to fund her education here and to fund her living expenses,” she concluded.
Ms. Salimi now faces possible deportation, while Mr. Torfehnejad is in the process of declaring personal bankruptcy.
Charles Mark, Mr. Torfehnejad's lawyer, said yesterday that his client “is still hurt, but he certainly knows now that no matter how nice she may have looked, inside she was nothing but a great big awful person.”
“She was too good to be true,” Mr. Torfehnejad agreed in an interview. “I really fell in love with her. But as the judge said, she didn't want to be with me from the beginning. To me, people should not trust their heart. They should trust their head.”
Mr. Torfehnejad first arrived in Canada in 1985 and obtained an engineering degree from Toronto's Ryerson University. After seeing a wedding video a friend had brought back from Iran, he became enchanted with one of the guests, Ms. Salimi, and made inquiries about her.
The couple soon began talking on the phone several times each week, and in May, 2002, Mr. Torfehnejad flew to Iran. Within two weeks, they had agreed on an Iranian marriage contract and were wed. Mr. Torfehnejad returned to Canada that night to begin sponsorship procedures to bring his wife to join him.
Over the next two years, Mr. Torfehnejad showered his new wife with gifts and cards. Ms. Salimi was finally granted a visa to come to Canada in late 2004. As soon as she did, Judge Greer said, Ms. Salimi turned icy and uncommunicative.
In August, 2005, she warned Mr. Torfehnejad that if he didn't give her the 500 gold coins, she would tell the police that he had threatened her and would have him blacklisted in Iran.
In her ruling, Judge Greer said that she believed barely a word that came out of Ms. Salimi's mouth. “She even factors car expenses in her budget, yet does not own one,” the judge said.
Mr. Torfehnejad said yesterday that he is still too shell-shocked to savour the ruling. “The cost of winning this battle has been huge,” he said.
“The situation for me and my parents — I support them financially — has been a tremendous hardship. I'm declaring bankruptcy because my legal costs were so much. I can't plan for my future, and I still don't know what she will try to do back in Iran.”
Mr. Mark said that the annulment was important to his client because it may help forestall a bleak situation in his homeland.
He said that Ms. Salimi has had her ex-husband's name placed on a government blacklist that may lead to his arrest if he returns home.
— JUSTICE REPORTER