Police arrest 91-year-old Canadian auto parts billionaire Frank Stronach on sexual assault charges

TORONTO (AP) — Austrian-Canadian auto parts billionaire Frank Stronach was arrested on sexual assault charges spanning decades, police said.

The 91-year-old was charged Friday with five crimes including rape, indecent assault on a female, sexual assault and forcible confinement, Peel Regional Police said. He was released with conditions and will appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in Brampton, Ontario, at a later date, the police statement said.

Peel Regional Police Constable Tyler Bell said there is more than one accuser but declined to say how many.

“Obviously, this is a high-profile case. Our special victims unit is bound to protect the victims and in doing so that’s why were are being vague,” Bell said. “There is more than one victim but we won’t confirm that number yet.”

Police allege the sexual assaults occurred from the 1980s to as recent as 2023. Bell said they are appealing for people to come forward if they have information or have been victims.

Stronach didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

He has hired prominent Canadian defense lawyer Brian Greenspan.

“Mr. Stronach categorically denies the allegations of impropriety which have been brought against him,” Greenspan said in an e-mail. “He looks forward to the opportunity to fully respond to the charges and to maintain his legacy both as a philanthropist and as an icon of the Canadian business community.”

Stronach, born in Austria, became one of Canada’s wealthiest people by creating Magna in his garage in 1957 and building it into one of the world’s largest suppliers of auto parts.

He also founded The Stronach Group, a company specializing in horse racing. He made a brief foray into Austrian politics more than a decade ago and has been named to the Order of Canada, one of the country’s highest honors.

A Magna spokesperson said Stronach has had no affiliation with the company since relinquishing control in 2010.

“We have recently been made aware of the charges filed against Frank Stronach,” Dave Niemiec said in an email Friday evening. “Magna has no knowledge of the investigation or the allegations that have been raised beyond what has been reported in the media.”

Niemiec said the company would not comment further on the ongoing legal matter.

In 2018, Stronach sued his daughter, two grandchildren and former business associate Alon Ossip for over $500 million in Ontario Superior Court alleging they mismanaged the family’s assets which he wanted to take back control of.

Belinda Stronach, a former Canadian Member of Parliament, countersued her father, saying in a statement of defense that he lost vast sums of money on pet projects.

The case was later settled.

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