Manchester rabbi arrested in investment fraud case

British rabbi arrested in fraud investigation against investment firm.

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Manchester, England
Manchester, England

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

Benji Silverstone, head of investment company HBFS Wealth Management’s Manchester office, has worked there for nearly five years, after working as the Manchester director of the Jewish outreach group Aish HaTorah for over nine years, the Jewish Chronicle reported on Thursday, nine days after his arrest. Contacted by JTA on Tuesday, a spokesperson for HBFS declined to comment on the affair.

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

Silverstone, who studied in 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.

Police in London already arrested earlier in December Freddy David, the managing director of HBFS Wealth Management, on suspicion of fraud and money-laundering, according to the Chronicle. David joined the company in 2000 having previously 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 in all forms and to write to all 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.