When billionaires Honey and Barry Sherman were found strangled inside their Toronto home last December, shockwaves travelled through the worlds of business, philanthropy and politics. Barry, 75, was the controversial, litigious and outspoken founder of generic giant Apotex Inc., Canada’s largest drug company. Honey, 70, was a powerhouse in philanthropic circles, sitting on dozens of charity boards and beloved as a committed fundraiser. Married 47 years, the couple was charity royalty, renowned for donating tens of millions to a wide swath of organizations, notably hospitals and universities.
Almost four months later, their double-homicide remains unsolved. Maclean’s has pored through thousands of pages of court documents, charity filings and corporate records, providing a window into the enormous challenge now facing police. In them, Barry Sherman emerges as a man certain of his righteousness for whom no battle was too large or small. He could be at turns generous and vindictive; a soft touch and a cold stone. Some saw him as a bully.
Sherman’s financial interests, conducted through a web of private companies, trusts and foundations, were so Byzantine that even he had trouble keeping them straight. He had a long history of investing money with known fraudsters. His investments outside of Apotex were both extensive and, at times, perplexing—a list that includes money-losing gold mine, a now-bankrupt jewelry company that dealt in “loose diamonds,” and an investment in a yacht named The Great Gatsby that never existed.
Barry Sherman’s final months read like plots straight out of spy thrillers. In January, Apotex sued a former employee, alleging he had stolen drug formulations that he planned to use at a factory he was building in Pakistan. Months later, in a lawsuit loaded with salacious details, a key Apotex executive was accused of espionage by the company’s biggest rival. Apotex had also been added to a list of generic drug-makers accused of price-fixing in the U.S.
On a personal front, Sherman’s decade-long legal battle with his estranged “orphan cousins” took yet another bizarre turn. In those months, Honey Sherman was busy stirring things up on the charity front and building a showplace new house intended to be the grand stage for the couple’s next chapter. As a result, they put their house up for sale, leaving them vulnerable to privacy breaches and incursions—and setting the stage for one of the country’s most high-profile and confounding murder mysteries.
Read more in Maclean’s in-depth story, The other side of Barry Sherman.