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Portus trial years away, lawyer says


Date: Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Author: Paul Waldie, Globe and Mail

Globe and Mail Update

Toronto — It will be years before Boaz Manor, the co-founder of collapsed hedge fund company Portus Alternative Asset Management Inc., goes on trial on criminal charges related to the collapse of Portus, his lawyer said this morning.

Brian Greenspan, a Toronto lawyer representing Mr. Manor, said that in general these kinds of cases take as long as three years to get to trial.

His comments came after a short court appearance Tuesday. Mr. Manor will be back in court on Jan. 21 to set up preliminary hearings.

Portus was pushed into receivership in 2005 at the behest of the Ontario Securities Commission. At the time the firm had 26,000 clients and about $800-million in assets. Mr. Manor, who co-founded Portus in 2003 with Michael Mendelson, left for Israel shortly after the company went into receivership. Since then the receiver has alleged that Mr. Manor moved funds offshore and bought nearly $9-million (US) in diamonds with client cash.

In September Mr. Manor and Mr. Mendelson were charged with several counts of fraud, money laundering and possession of property obtained by crime. Mr. Mendelson recently pleaded guilty to one charge. He received a two-year prison sentence and he has agreed to co-operate with the crown.

Mr. Manor returned to Canada on Nov. 13 and was released on bail.

Tuesday morning Mr. Greenspan said he had no comment on Mr. Mendelson's deal and insisted that Mr. Manor had every right to go to Israel.

“He was under no compulsion to remain in Canada,” he said. Mr. Manor “had issues to pursue, he had interests to pursue and he did that.”

He added that it was always Mr. Manor's intention to return to Canada to face the criminal charges as well as charges filed by the OSC.

Mr. Greenspan said Mr. Manor is living with his parents and hoping to find work, although not in the securities business. “He will look for opportunities to pursue as he waits and considers these matters that he is confronting.”