Toronto billionaires Barry and Honey Sherman were murdered, police say

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January 26, 2018: Toronto police say the Shermans were targeted and their deaths are ruled a double-homicide.

This Jan. 6, 2018 photo shows police crime scene tape marking off the property belonging to Barry and Honey Sherman, who were found strangled inside their home on December 15, 2017.

A billionaire Canadian couple found hanged at their home were murdered in a targeted killing, police now believe.

They were found with belts around their neck and an initial autopsy found the two died of ligature neck compression.

Det-Sgt Susan Gomes said on Friday afternoon that police made the determination after six weeks of collecting evidence at the billionaire couple's Toronto home.

"The announcement by the Toronto Police Service that the tragic deaths of their parents are being investigated as double homicide was anticipated by the Sherman family", the statement reads.

The family said in a statement Friday that the new conclusion "was expressed by the family from the outset and is consistent with the findings of the independent autopsy and investigation".

Police had initially deemed their deaths as "suspicious" but said they were not seeking any suspects.

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The Sherman family has hired a team of experts - which includes a number of former Toronto homicide detectives - to conduct a separate, independent investigation.

Sherman, who had a PhD in astrophysics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was chairman of the closely held Toronto-based generic drugmaker and was ranked by Forbes as Canada's 12th-richest person with a net worth of about US$3 billion (NZ$4b).

The night their bodies were discovered, sources revealed to Postmedia that police were considering the deaths to be a murder-suicide.

He was also known for his aggressive business practice and once mused that a rival might want to kill him.

Sherman founded Apotex in 1974, and over the following decades became known as a ruthless and litigious businessman who shunned the limelight while revolutionizing the drug industry in Canada.

The lawsuit from Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. accuses Barinder Sandhu, who worked as a senior director of regulatory affairs for Teva's USA generics division, of leaking trade secrets and other confidential information to Desai while being in a romantic relationship with him. "The thought once came to mind, why didn't they just hire someone to knock me off? Perhaps I'm surprised that hasn't happened", Barry Sherman told American author Jeffrey Robinson during an interview in 2000.

The Toronto Star reported last week that the private investigators believed the Shermans were victims of a double-murder, possibly a contract killing.