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Investment Advisor Vilar Can't Make Bail

June 04, 2005|From Times Wire Services

Alberto Vilar, the once-highflying arts patron and technology investor jailed last week on charges he stole $5 million from a client and close friend, failed to meet bail Friday, falling short by $1 million, and will remain in jail.

Vilar's lawyer, Susan Necheles, persuaded Judge Harold Baer to change the terms of a $10-million cash bail he set a week ago to a personal recognizance bond, secured by $4 million in assets, but it was not enough.

Necheles said too few friends came through for the opera buff who moved into the performing arts spotlight by donating millions of dollars to some of the world's renowned opera houses.

"I am disappointed," Necheles said after the hearing in federal court in New York. "He's been an extremely generous person and helped a lot of people. It's a sad thing that these people are not willing to come forward."

She said Vilar told her that he was innocent.

If Vilar fails to meet bail, prosecutors have to indict him by June 10. If Vilar does meet bail, prosecutors have 20 days after his arrest to indict him.

Assistant U.S. Atty. Marc Litt said Vilar would face as many as 10 years in prison if convicted.

U.S. prosecutors last week filed a complaint that accused Vilar of misappropriating funds from a client of Amerindo Investment Advisors Inc., which he co-founded with Gary Tanaka, who faces similar charges.

Earlier Friday, Magistrate Judge Theodore Katz granted bail to Tanaka. The judge ordered Tanaka to surrender his passport and post a $10-million personal recognizance bond.

Meanwhile, the board of the Los Angeles Department of Fire and Police Pensions, an Amerindo client of 17 years, will meet next week to decide whether to terminate its account, valued at about $360 million, said Tom Lopez, chief investment officer for the $12-billion pension fund.

The decision will be based on "whether there's anything left of the firm going forward," Lopez said. "Amerindo had a five- person investment committee. Two of them are in jail."

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