Prominent Canadian-Israeli Businessman Busted For Money Laundering, Flight From Prosecution
Nathan Jacobson was arrested for money laundering in the US and cooperated with federal investigators for years afterward. But he failed to show up in the US for sentencing this summer and was arrested late last week in Toronto, as a result.
Nathan Jacobson with Chabad rabbi and son
[Hat Tip: A friend of FM in Toronto.]
Toronto Police Fugitive Squad nabs businessman with ties to Jason Kenney, John Baird
Stephen Maher • Canadian Press (National Post)
Businessman Nathan Jacobson has gone from hobnobbing with the most powerful politicians in Canada to a jail cell.
The fugitive, who is facing a sentence in an American prison for conspiracy to commit money laundering, is in Toronto’s Metro West Detention Centre, an official there said Friday.
He was picked up by members of the Toronto Police Fugitive Squad in downtown Toronto on Thursday and made an appearance at the Toronto Courthouse on University Avenue on Friday.
Jacobson pleaded guilty to money laundering connected to an illegal online pharmacy in San Diego in 2008. But the plea was sealed while he helped investigators with their case and he travelled around the world, spending time with senior ministers in the Canadian government.
Few knew about his trouble with American law enforcement until he failed to show up for a sentencing hearing in San Diego in July, at which point Judge Irma Gonzalez, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, issued a warrant for his arrest.
At the time, Jacobson’s Canadian lawyer, Howard J. Wolch, said his client was in Asia on business, and asserting that he was unaware of any legal proceeding concerning him.
Jacobson came back to Toronto, where he was taken into custody on Friday.
Jacobson, who grew up in Winnipeg, has dual Canadian-Israeli citizenship, and until last year had a credit card clearing company in Tel Aviv, Paygea, which processed payments for online gaming sites and adult websites. Israeli media reports say that when the company ceased operations, it left creditors in the lurch.
Jacobson is a prominent member of the Canadian Jewish community and has been a strong backer of the Conservative government. He was previously on the board of the Canada-Israel Chamber of Commerce and the Canada-Israel Committee.
In May, 2009, he was master of ceremonies for a party celebrating the 61st anniversary of the founding of Israel in the West Block of Parliament Hill, introducing the keynote speaker, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.
He has travelled in Israel with Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and is said to be friendly with both ministers.
Both ministers have said they were unaware of his legal difficulties until they were reported by Postmedia News this summer.…