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Ross Asset liquidators recouped $4 mln in past six months, await McIntosh ruling

Wednesday 25th January 2017

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The liquidator of Ross Asset Management has lifted settlements with investors to $6.1 million and got $161,585 from share sales in the past six months but its job is partly on hold pending a Supreme Court decision.

PwC's John Fisk is seeking to recover as much as possible of the $100 million-to-$115 million of investor money frittered away in the country's biggest Ponzi scheme. In his latest update, Fisk said claims against 93 investors are subject to standstill agreements that became necessary because of the ongoing legal stoush with Hamish McIntosh.

The Wellington lawyer has taken his case to the Supreme Court after lower courts found he was required to repay about $454,000 he got back over and above the $500,000 he put in after managing to extract his paper profits from the Ponzi scheme before it failed. The liquidator says at the time of writing no timing for the decision was known.

Two investors refused to enter a standstill and the liquidator has since settled with one. It has also settled with 39 investors "who wished to avoid any ongoing risk of litigation". Settlements totalled $6.8 million, of which $6.1 million was received in the six months to Dec. 16. More may settle as more investors have retained the same legal adviser, the report says.

Total receipts since the liquidation started on Dec. 17, 2012, rose to $10.7 million, of which the biggest portion, $6.1 million, came from the clawback recovery. They have extracted $876,069 from David Ross, the RAM principal who is serving a 10-year 10-month jail term for fraud, but this amount barely budged in the latest six months. Payments during the liquidation have totalled $4.6 million, of which liquidators' fees are the biggest item at $1.18 million.

The liquidation covers eight related entities, of which the total funds held was $7.2 million at Dec. 16. Of that, about $6.1 million was held in the Ross Asset liquidation and about $1.1 million was held in Dagger Nominees.

Wellington-based David Ross built up a private investment service by word of mouth, producing regular reports for shareholders indicating healthy but fictitious returns. Between June 2000 and September 2012, Ross reported false profits of $351 million from fictitious securities trading as part of a fraud that was the largest single such crime committed by an individual in New Zealand.

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