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Disappearance of witness forces delay of trial

Another twist to Masee case

Tags: Masee Case Investigation

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - The mysterious disappearance of former Bank of Montreal private banker Nick Masee has forced a seven-month delay in the trial of high-profile businessman Nelson Skalbania, one of Masee's former clients at the bank's exclusive 'private banking centre.' Skalbania has been charged with theft of $100,000.

While crown prosecutors describe Masee as an 'incidental' witness, Skalbania's lawyers requested the delay, saying they needed Masee for their defence. Neither police or crown prosecutors view Masee as a co-conspirator in the case.

The starting date of the trial was delayed several times before. The charge relates to a $100,000 deposit placed in trust by a real estate company whose license was suspended in 1991 following an investigation of alleged misuse of trust funds. Skalbania's daughter, Rosanda, is listed as president and sole director of the real estate firm. Purmerend-born Masee - a former president of the Netherlands Businessmen's Association - and his wife Lisa disappeared over two months ago. Police sources say they have exhausted all leads.