July 14, 2010
A Buddhist organization is giving back more than $300,000 in donations it received from a Toronto businessman who was accused of running an elaborate Ponzi scheme.
“In the circumstances, it was clear to us that it’s our moral duty to return these donations,” said Tony Meers, director-general of the Canadian chapter of Soka Gakkai International, or SGI, a Buddhist charitable organization founded in Japan. “We don’t want to keep this money. Our members wouldn’t want us to, it’s pretty obvious.”
Robert Mander died at his home in Flamborough, Ont., in March leaving investors scrambling to find out what happened to the $43-million they had entrusted to him. Investors won a court order putting Mr. Mander’s financial company, E.M.B Asset Group Inc., into receivership, and the receiver, RSM Richter Inc., has been trying to track down money ever since.
“It is evident to the receiver that Mander was operating a Ponzi scheme,” the receiver said in a recent report filed in court.
The report outlined how Mr. Mander used investor cash to make donations to SGI starting in 2005. According to the report, Mr. Mander donated $500 a month to SGI, as well as a number of gifts of $100,000. In total, Mr. Mander donated $320,500 to the organization.
Classy move, SGI!
Click here to read Tricycle contributing editor Clark Strand's Winter 2008 interview with Daisaku Ikeda, President of the Soka Gakkai International.