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Cinar Founders Fired

Cinar Corp. has formally fired company founders Micheline Charest and Ronald Weinberg. The couple was terminated on Thursday after a special committee of the board met to discuss the future of the troubled toon firm. Charest and Weinberg stepped down from their posts as chairman and president, respectively, as well as their co-CEO posts in March once it was discovered that US$122 million was invested in offshore accounts without board approval. They subsequently assumed the roles of company directors. As part of the misappropriation of funds, senior VP and CFO Hasanain Panju was fired. Originally Panju was the only person connected with the unapproved investment, but it was later discovered that Weinberg also okayed the $122 million investment. Scandal first surrounded the company when allegations where made that the ARTHUR producer was passing U.S. scripts off as Canadian to obtain tax breaks. Later, it was revealed that some of the false names placed on scripts were derivatives of Charest and Weinbergs childrens names and that royalty money was being paid to Charests sister, Hélène who isnt even a writer. Currently, Cinar has several class-action lawsuits filed against it by investors and trading of its stock has been halted on the Toronto Stock Exchange and delisted on the Nasdaq. Recently, the animation house obtained the aid of Merrill Lynch to help find a merger partner or buyer for the embattled company.