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Namvar resigns under pressure from synagogue.

Ezri Namvar, an Iranian-Jewish businessman accused of running a Ponzi scheme that bankrupted many Iranian Jews, resigned from the Board of Trustees of the Beverly Hills-based Nessah Synagogue last month.

As more and more information about the way he ran his investment firm came to light, community criticism pressured Namvar to resign. He e-mailed Nessah's board members and notified the organization of his immediate resignation March 16, The Jewish Journal reported.

On February 26, court-appointed trustees investigated Namvar's assets and liabilities. The report said Namvar and his family used most of the investors' funds for risky investments, but also put investors' money to personal use.

David Youssefyeh, an Iranian-Jewish attorney representing many of Namvar's creditors, said the report's findings produced outrage.

"I doubt that anyone who was loaning money to Namco [Namvar's firm] thought that their money would be used for Mr. Namvar's brother's wedding. I certainly hsope that the proper authorities, and anyone who is doing business with Mr. Namvar now, reviews this report," he said.


Namvar claimed bankruptcy in December 2008 after investors at his company, Namco Capital, accused him of masterminding a Ponzi scheme that lost about $500 million loaned to him. Most of the money was drawn from Los Angeles' Iranian Jews.

The bankruptcy court handling the case is considering selling one of Namvar's largest assets--the Wilshire/Bundy building--to pay off major creditors. A group of Namvar's Iranian-Jewish creditors petitioned for the bankruptcy judge to oppose the sale of all of Namvar's properties March 31. Over 200 Namvar and Namco creditors signed the petition, which claimed they suffered a total of $160 million in losses. They requested that the court sell the property at a later date, when the real estate market has recovered so that they might retrieve more of their lost funds.

Although Namvar is not facing criminal charges, he has had various civil suits filed against him in the past 18 months.
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Title Annotation:Around the globe: Diaspora
Publication:Iran Times International (Washington, DC)
Date:Apr 23, 2010
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