Montreal

Cinar co-founder Ronald Weinberg sentenced to 9 years in fraud case

In the longest jury trial in Canadian history, the animation company's co-founder, Ronald Weinberg, along with his associates John Xanthoudakis and Lino Matteo, were found guilty of fraud, conspiracy.

Weinberg's associates, John Xanthoudakis, Lino Matteo, sentenced 8 years

Cinar founder Ronald Weinberg (left), Lino Matteo and John Xanthoudakis have been found guilty of orchestrating a large-scale fraud. (Paul Chiasson and Radio-Canada)

The co-founder of Cinar, Ronald Weinberg – one of three men found guilty in an elaborate $120-million fraud case – has been sentenced to nine years in prison.

Weinberg, who founded the children's animation company with his late wife, Micheline Charest, and his associates John Xanthoudakis and Lino Matteo, were found guilty earlier this month on most of the charges they faced.

Xanthoudakis and Matteo were both sentenced to eight years.

All three men will serve one month less than their sentences due to time served since they were found guilty.

The defence pushed for five-year sentences, whereas the Crown called for the maximum sentence of 10 years.

Weinberg's lawyers said they would review all the information before considering an appeal.

Cinar is behind popular children's shows such as "Arthur" and "Caillou." The fraud took place between 1998 and 2000.

The criminal trial began more than two years ago, in May 2014, making it the longest jury trial in Canadian history.

Weinberg was found guilty of nine of the 16 charges against him, including three for fraud. He was acquitted of seven charges, including making and using false documents.

Xanthoudakis, the former president and executive director of Norshield Financial Group, a Montreal-based hedge fund operator, was found guilty of all 17 charges against him.

Matteo, who ran the Montreal-based investment firm Mount Real, was found guilty of nine of 11 charges against him.

A fourth man, Cinar's former chief financial officer, Hasanain Panju, pleaded guilty before this trial began and was sentenced to four years in prison. Panju later testified for the Crown in the trial of Weinberg, Xanthoudakis and Matteo.

With files from Sarah Towle

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