A Winnipeg-born businessman has been denied bail after being arrested at his home in Toronto Thursday — three months after an American judge issued his arrest warrant.
Nathan Jacobson, who attended Grant Park High School and has been honoured for supporting the arts in Winnipeg, pleaded guilty in May 2008, to conspiracy to commit money laundering,
This summer, Jacobson failed to show up for his sentencing hearing for his role in an illegal Internet pharmacy operation. A San Diego District Court judge issued a warrant for his arrest.
Jacobson and 17 others were charged in 2006 by a grand jury with 313 counts related to Affpower, an Internet pharmacy that dispensed drugs to Americans without legal prescriptions. Many of his co-accused have since been convicted, receiving long prison sentences.
Last week, a Canadian judge reportedly certified an international red notice — a warrant issued for a flight risk.
Jacobson was arrested and is being held in custody. His next court appearance is Wednesday.
Questions about Jacobson's "close ties" to the Conservative party were raised during question period Sept. 28 in the House of Commons. MP Scott Andrews (Liberal/Avalon) asked about donations Jacobson — who was photographed standing with Canada's and Israel's prime ministers — made to the Conservatives after he was charged in the U.S.
"Has the government made the Conservative party return the $10,000 in donations that it received from him and will it ask the NDP to do the same?" Andrews asked.
Government House leader Peter Van Loan responded, saying the "government conducts itself with the highest level of standards." That's why it introduced the Federal Accountability Act limiting contributions to $1,200 a year "so ordinary Canadians have control over their political system, not dirty money... "
Jacobson has also given money to the arts in Winnipeg. In 2005, Jacobson covered the cost of the Manitoba leg of the touring Tel Aviv theatre production of the one-man show Einstein presented in Hebrew.
He was a boyhood friend of its director, former River Heights resident Howard Rypp and the play's writer, Gabriel Emanuel, a Toronto lawyer who went by the name Gordon Wiseman in his Winnipeg days.
They all attended Grant Park High School in the 1960s.
Jacobson is not the only Internet pharmacy businessman with Winnipeg connections in legal trouble.
In June, Andrew Strempler, of Winnipeg, was arrested at the Miami International Airport while flying to Canada from South America and charged with selling foreign and counterfeit drugs.
American authorities have been cracking down on online Canadian pharmacies that sell drugs to Americans.