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Thow slips out of the country
Victoria stockbroker Ian Thow crossed the U.S. border early Thursday morning with a truck full of home furnishings, according to RCMP.


David Baines, With files from Andrew A. Duffy

CanWest News Service

Friday, September 9, 2005

Insp. Mike Ryan said Thow, who is under RCMP investigation for possible securities fraud and in the middle of a bankruptcy proceeding, pulled up at the Pacific truck crossing at Blaine at 1 a.m. in a Ford F350 truck loaded with furnishings.

Behind him was another truck, also loaded with goods, Ryan said.

Ryan said RCMP, who are investigating Thow in connection with millions of dollars worth of investments that he allegedly sold to his clients but failed to deliver, had earlier asked U.S. border officials to alert them if Thow tried to cross the border.

Ryan said he got a call about 1:10 a.m. and it only took him 45 minutes to get to the crossing, but by that time U.S. officials had let Thow through, apparently because he proffered documentation showing he is a U.S. citizen.

This contradicts an affidavit that Thow earlier filed in B.C. Supreme Court in response to creditor arguments that he is a flight risk. In that affidavit, Thow said that although he was born in the United States, the only citizenship he holds is Canadian.

Bankruptcy trustee Michael Cheevers said he had taken inventory of goods and furnishings at Thow's waterfront home in Central Saanich last week.

When RCMP told him about Thow's early-morning move, he arranged to take another inventory and discovered that "items of furniture and electronic items, including flat-panelled TVs" had been removed.

He also noted that the F350 truck belongs to one of Thow's private companies, which is in receivership. That means he can't legally take it out of the country. "So as far as we are concerned, that's been stolen from one of the companies," he said.

Thow -- who has declared liabilities of $42.9 million against $7.6 million in assets -- has made a proposal to settle his debts. That proposal was to be considered by his creditors in Victoria on Monday.

Cheevers said that, if accepted, the proposal would allow Thow to keep his household effects, jewelry and other personal items. However, if it is rejected, Thow would immediately be deemed bankrupt and any items he has removed from creditors would be considered stolen. Meanwhile, Thow's bankruptcy lawyer, David Gagnon, is no longer representing him.

The Goodwin family from Richmond is one of the unsecured creditors who have sued Thow for $1.4 million.

"I knew he was going to skip the country, I knew it, but I thought this country and co-operating countries like the U.S. would have turned him back," Brad Goodwin said Thursday night.

Goodwin said he knew Thow held a U.S. passport. "He snubbed the law right in the face and did what he wanted. They need to stop him, they need to get him behind bars."


Ian Thow takes flight