***UPDATE*** Sebastian Monsour was released on bail and ordered to hand over his passport, according to a report by the Australian Broadcast Corporation. The report said Monsour appeared in Brisbane's Magistrates Court Friday. His lawyer told ABC they plan to plead "not guilty" when he appears in court again on July 18.
BRISBANE, Australia (NEWS CENTER Maine) — The Australian developer who was supposed to buy Saddleback Mountain has been arrested overseas and is being held without bail.
Forty-four-year-old Sebastian Monsour, the CEO of the Majella Group of Brisbane, was arrested after a raid of his offices Thursday afternoon in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
He is charged with one count of fraud, according to the Queensland Police.
Police called it a “long and protracted” financial investigation in a Thursday press conference.
The charges come after a Chinese businessman claimed Monsour had defrauded him of a $5 million investment.
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The money was supposed to go to visa-compliant programs so the Chinese businessman could qualify for an Australian visa. Instead, Monsour allegedly spent it on various other projects, including sending some hundreds of thousands to the United States.
Brisbane officials say its likely that money will never be recovered.
Monsour announced in a June 2017 press conference that his company would buy Saddleback Mountain, which sat idle for three ski seasons prior.
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Monsour promised to make the mountain the “premier ski resort” in North America and to restore the 300 seasonal jobs lost.
One year later, he hadn’t come up with the money to close the sale.
According to a September 2017 audiotape released exclusively by NEWS CENTER Maine, Monsour agreed to purchase Saddleback with the intent of enrolling in a U.S. foreign investor visa program.
The future of the mountain, its skiers, and the hundreds of seasonal jobs and winter businesses associated with it are up in the air. For a year, the mountain's current owners have remained silent and declined any requests for interviews or information.
Monsour is being held without bail and will be in Queensland Court on Friday.