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Sentencing arguments begin for three men convicted in Cinar fraud case

MONTREAL – Ronald Weinberg is a good man who always put others first, his son Eric said Monday on the first day of sentencing arguments for his father and two other men convicted in the $120-million Cinar fraud case.

Weinberg co-founded the Cinar animation company, which created popular children’s shows such as “Arthur” and “Caillou,” and his son said it is a loss for “millions of people” his father can no longer produce programs.

A jury found him, along with John Xanthoudakis and Lino Matteo, guilty last week of most of the charges they faced.

The jury ruled that Weinberg diverted Cinar funds to the Bahamas without authorization with the help of Xanthoudakis, the former head of Norshield, and Matteo, who used to run the Mount Real investment firm.

The fraud took place between 1998 and 2000.

Eric Weinberg told the court his father was heavily involved in his Vermont school and helped ensure its survival.

“He always put other people first,” Eric said, adding “there is no doubt this man can continue to work, to be a leader and to offer help for the good of humanity as he used to.”

Weinberg’s sister and his other son, Alex, also testified.

Crown prosecutors did not cross-examine any of the witnesses.

Matteo has chosen to defend himself and make his own statements in advance of his sentencing.

The judge warned that such a decision would put him at a disadvantage but Matteo said he has no choice.

Sentencing arguments are expected to last all week.

Weinberg, Matteo and Xanthoudakis face up to 10 years in prison.