Fugitive businessman with Tory ties arrested in Toronto
Fugitive Nathan Jacobson, whose ties to the federal Conservatives made him the subject of recent question period queries from opposition benches, was arrested at his home in Toronto Thursday afternoon.
The Winnipeg-born businessman had his bail denied in Toronto court Friday and remains in the Toronto West Detention Centre awaiting another appearance Oct. 31.
U.S. Justice authorities in San Diego had told CBC they were upset that no Canadian law enforcement agencies had responded to their July 30 warrant for his arrest when Jacobson failed to attend court after pleading guilty to money laundering.
With others, Jacobson had set up an online pharmacy known as Affpower, based in Costa Rica, that sold drugs to Americans without prescriptions from 2004 to 2006. The 57-year-old was originally charged with several counts of fraud, money laundering and the distribution and dispensing of controlled substances, but he co-operated with authorities and pleaded guilty in 2008 to laundering $46 million in drug payments.
He was expected to serve a four-year sentence, but failed to show up at pre-sentencing.
An international red notice — a warrant issued for a flight risk — was certified this week by a Canadian judge for the sometime philanthropist who made millions selling GM products and setting up gas stations in post-Soviet Russia.
U.S. District Attorney Philip Halpern of San Diego would not comment on the arrest because the matter is before "judicial processes."
Claimed he was friends with Baird, Kenney
Calls by CBC on Friday to his three lawyers, his wife and business partner were not returned.
In recent years, Jacobson had spent much time in the corridors of power, both in Israel and Canada, and in March a smiling Jacobson was photographed between both Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu at a reception in Ottawa. Jacobson claimed to have worked on the 2008 campaign for the Tories and was also considered a friend of cabinet ministers Jason Kenney and John Baird.
But when challenged earlier this year on their relationship to Jacobson, both ministers said they were oblivious to Jacobson’s legal problems.
Jacobson himself had initiated a lawsuit against Conservative MP Mark Adler last fall for what he claims was a $265,000 loan. Adler, in court documents, denies that amount changed hands, and said what was given to him was a gift from Jacobson to expand his Economic Club of Canada to the United States.
Besides donating more than $10,000 to the Conservative Party in recent years, Jacobson was prominent in his philanthropy within the Jewish community.
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