Manchester rabbi arrested in investment fraud case

(JTA) – A British rabbi who heads an investment firm’s office in Manchester was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit fraud.

Benji Silverstone, who heads the HBFS Wealth Management office in the British city, has worked there for nearly five years after serving over nine years as the Manchester director of the Jewish outreach group Aish Hatorah, the Jewish Chronicle reported Thursday, nine days after his arrest. Contacted by JTA on Tuesday, a spokesman for HBFS declined to comment on the arrest.

“We can confirm a 40-year-old man was arrested in Salford on Dec. 19th on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud,” a police spokesman told the London-based Jewish Chronicle.

Silverstone, who studied at the Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem before qualifying as a rabbi at Aish Yeshiva, directed calls to his attorney after the Jewish Chronicle contacted him for comment. The Chronicle report did not say what limitations if any police have placed on his movement.

Earlier in December, London police arrested the managing director of HBFS Wealth Management on suspicion of fraud and money laundering, according to the Chronicle. Freddy David joined the company in 2000 having worked as a corporate manager at Barclays Bank.

HBFS customers were advised “to check the status of any investments made through HBFS and, if they have any concerns, to contact City of London Police.”

HBFS also was required to cease advertising its services and to write to existing customers to confirm that it is prevented from holding client money. According to its website, HBFS provides wealth management, inheritance tax solutions and fund management portfolios for self-invested personal pensions.

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