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Ex-Billionaire Under House Arrest Pleads with Judge to Attend Russian Opera

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A disgraced financier and Russian opera fan has asked a judge to modify the terms of his house arrest, so that he can enjoy two free tickets he received for a sold-out performance of Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin” in Manhattan, the New York Daily News has reported.

WASHINGTON, October 11 (RIA Novosti) – A disgraced financier and Russian opera fan has asked a judge to modify the terms of his house arrest, so that he can enjoy two free tickets he received for a sold-out performance of Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin” in Manhattan, the New York Daily News has reported.

Ex-billionaire Alberto Vilar, an American who was convicted in 2006 of stealing $23 million from clients at his investment firm, received the complimentary tickets from Russian maestro Valery Gergiev, who is conducting the performance at the New York Metropolitan Opera Saturday, the New York Daily news reports.

Gergiev, a seemingly good friend of Vilar, also put up $500,000 for his bail when the financier was arrested in 2005.

Vilar’s lawyer sent a letter Wednesday to Manhattan Federal Court Judge Richard Sullivan requesting a temporary relaxation of the 11 pm EDT (0300 GMT) curfew under which Vilar has been living since his release from prison last year pending an appeal, the paper reported.

“The opera does not let out until after his curfew. Mr. Vilar would like the opportunity to socialize after the opera for a short time, and asks that his curfew be extended to 1:30 am (0530 GMT),” lawyer Vivian Shevitz said in the letter quoted by the New York Daily News on Thursday.

The judge denied the request. Vilar’s lawyer immediately filed a request for reconsideration, the paper reported.

Vilar, 73, made his fortune in the 1990s tech boom, and donated over $200 million to opera houses, ballet companies and orchestras around the world, according to Forbes.com.

In 2008, however, he was sentenced to nine years in prison after stealing from clients, amid accusations that some of his ill-gotten gains were used to support his philanthropic pledges, the New York Daily News reported.

Vilar’s appeal was turned down in August. He submitted a petition Thursday for the Second Circuit US Court of Appeals to rehear his case.

 

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