Jury selection begins in multimillion-dollar Cinar fraud case
Published Tuesday, April 22, 2014 8:50PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, April 22, 2014 8:56PM EDT
Jury selection began Tuesday morning in a fraud trial linked to the now-bankrupt TV animation company behind such hit shows as Caillou, Paddington Bear and Arthur.
Once considered a leading producer of children's TV shows, three former Cinar executives, including its co-founder Ronald Weinberg, are facing trial.
An internal audit in 2000 revealed that tens of millions of dollars in investors’ funds were transferred to the Bahamas through a hedge fund called Norshield. At the helm of that hedge fund was a man named John Xanthoudakis.
Worried investors rushed to free their money from the two businesses, leading to losses in assets estimated at $120 million.
The investigation took nearly a decade before police could place criminal charges against the suspects.
In March 2011, Weinberg was arrested and charged with fraud. Xanthoudakis was also arrested in connection with alleged fraud at Norshield. Another man, Lino Matteo, was arrested and charged with helping Norshield hide some losses. Together, the three face a total of 36 charges.
The three accused requested a trial in English.
Meantime, 350 potential jury candidates were called Tuesday morning.
The trial will last at least five months, if not six, meaning many jurors asked to be excused, as they felt they wouldn't be capable of carrying on such a complex case throughout the summer and next fall.