Ross Asset Management Ponzi - PwC Legal Opinion on Claw Back
PwC has published today on its web site an update of its Frequently Asked Questions http://www.pwc.co.nz/ross-group/frequently-asked-questions/
This update is potentially bad news for investors who have lost tens of millions of dollars because of the massive Ponzi fraud perpetrated by David Ross.
The legal opinions expressed by PwC may indicate that most or all investors who have lost money may be stripped of any effective right to recover the vast bulk of their money.
It is believed the stolen money has been transferred by David Ross to other investors, who according to the legal opinion may in most cases be able to assume ownership of the stolen money.
Under the very old common law principle known as "nemo dat" property rights are protected. If you had a painting stolen and the thief sold it to a third party, and you spotted your painting many years later, you would have every likelihood of being able to recover the painting, with no time limit. The thief who stole the painting is not allowed to transfer title to the person who purchased the stolen painting.
If the legal opinions are correct, and New Zealand law does not protect our property rights, the spectre of David Ross being able to steal investors life savings and then transfer that stolen money to others potentially throws our whole legal system into disrepute. If the stolen money was transferred to people who were collaborating with David Ross (who might then feed some of the gains back to him under the table) the spectre is of a perfect crime, right before our eyes, with virtually no redress for the victims who had their money stolen. Does this legal situation mean New Zealand sanctions money laundering, and in clear view?
There is such strong evidence of collaboration in the David Ross case that it cannot be ignored. Over the past 3 years of David Ross’s operation money suddenly flowed out in large quantities, and deposits nosedived. Many have reported that ‘word’ was going round in select circles that Ross was the new Madoff of New Zealand.
The source of our problems is that New Zealand has no effective Ponzi law that requires the fair and just return of stolen money. This is amazing considering how common Ponzi schemes have been in this country.
The Ross Asset Management Investors Group (RAMIG) will press for the PwC legal opinion to be made public immediately. RAMIG will also seek a second legal opinion. If decent mom and pop investors, widows and retired couples, can be stripped of their savings in broad daylight, with no fair legal redress, then the law has failed us completely. We will not accept this, or any sanctioning of massive fraud by white collar criminals.
The voracity of our property rights must be tested in court. The PwC legal opinion must be tested. All civil and criminal legal remedies must be explored, not just the very limited Companies Act which focuses simplistically on company losses and not on rectifying gross criminal fraud of the type perpetrated by Ross. Further, all flows of money in Ross’s business dealings over the years must be analysed, and a full forensic analysis performed.
Will a judge be happy to see good people robbed? Either way, the politicians have a lot of work to do to make our country safe for hard working investors.
Bruce Tichbon for RAM Investors Group