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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

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Fugitive businessman turns himself in

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Jewish Canadian philanthropist and businessman Nathan Jacobson will turn himself into U.S. authorities this week.

The fugitive entrepreneur made headlines last year when an arrest warrant was issued on July 30, 2012, in California after the 57-year-old Winnipeg native failed to appear in court for a hearing related to a case in which he pleaded guilty.

According to 2012 reports by Postmedia News and Ha’aretz, Jacobson and 17 others were indicted in 2006 by a grand jury in San Diego for their role with an online pharmacy called Affpower, which shipped drugs from Costa Rica to Americans without legal prescriptions.

Jacobson laundered more than $46 million in drug payments through his Tel-Aviv-based credit-card company, RX Payments Ltd., and then sent the money to bank accounts in Cyprus.

After failing to appear at his pre-sentencing hearing, an international arrest warrant was issued.

Jacobson appeared in a Toronto court last Friday. His lawyer said that Jacobson agreed to surrender to U.S. authorities and promised to return to California to serve his sentence this week.

According to a June 14 National Post report, American authorities requested a Canadian arrest warrant for Jacobson, which the federal Justice Department granted on Oct. 25, 2012. The Toronto Police Service Fugitive Squad picked him up at his Toronto condo, and he was kept at the Toronto West Detention Centre for a week before being granted bail.

Jacobson has dual Israeli-Canadian citizenship and was prominent in federal Conservative party circles, raising funds for the party from 2007 and 2011 and appearing with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Foreign Minister John Baird and Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney at functions.

Spokespeople for all three politicians have said they were unaware of his legal troubles.

Jacobson served in the Israel Defence Forces before he began amassing his fortune in the 1990s selling gasoline, cars and cigarettes in Russia.

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