Montreal

Key player in Cinar scandal granted bail

One of the main players sentenced in the Cinar financial scandal has been granted conditional release pending a hearing at the Quebec Court of Appeal.

John Xanthoudakis gets conditional release pending Quebec Court of Appeal hearing

John Xanthoudakis must pay a $100,000 bond, surrender his passport and remain in Quebec. (Radio-Canada)

One of the main players sentenced in the Cinar financial scandal has been granted conditional release pending a hearing at the Quebec Court of Appeal.

John Xanthoudakis, the former CEO of Norshield Financial Group, was convicted of 17 counts of fraud and counterfeiting of documents in June, and sentenced to nearly eight years in jail.

The convictions in June were the conclusion to a saga that began in the early 2000s.

The trial heard allegations that executives at Cinar — a children's television production company once seen as Canadian success story — had sent more than $100 million offshore to the Bahamas without board approval.

Xanthoudakis was released from a minimum security institution in Quebec Wednesday, after his lawyer appealed the guilty verdict.

"It's a fair judgment, given we've raised serious grounds of appeal and that the client has no previous criminal convictions," said Andrew Barbacki, Xanthoudakis's lawyer.

Barbacki said he will argue on appeal that Xanthoudakis had to wait an unreasonable length of time between when the charges were laid in 2011 and his conviction in June.

The trial itself began in May 2014, making it what Barbacki said is the longest jury trial in Canadian history. 

In her written decision on Tuesday, Justice Marie-France Bich said that Xanthoudakis poses no threat to public safety.

"It is worth noting that the very serious crimes of which the petitioner was convicted were nevertheless committed without any sort of violence," Bich wrote in her ruling.

The judge also said that there appears to be no risk to the public's financial safety in releasing the former hedge fund executive. She wrote that Xanthoudakis had "complied" with all previous bail conditions.

Xanthoudakis must pay a $100,000 bond, as well as surrender his passport and remain in Quebec.

Together with Ronald Weinberg and Lino Matteo, Xanthoudakis was found guilty for his role in what prosecutors called a multi-million fraud orchestrated between September 1997 and December 2005.

With files from Radio-Canada

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