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Thow ordered to Seattle court
Former financial adviser to face questions from bankruptcy trustee on income, assets

Andrew A. Duffy

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Disgraced former investment adviser Ian Thow has been ordered to appear in a Seattle courtroom Monday to face a series of questions from the Canadian receiver dealing with his bankruptcy.

In papers filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Seattle, Judge Philip Brandt has ordered Thow, a former senior vice-president with Berkshire Investment Group, to attend an examination conducted by legal counsel representing Mike Cheevers of Wolridge Mahon to answer questions under oath about his financial affairs.

The questions will include Thow's sources of income, places of residence, employment information, expenses and any property he still owns.

They are part of Cheevers's search for more than $32 million Thow's former clients and creditors claim they are owed by Thow, who left the country and settled in Seattle in July 2005 after declaring bankruptcy.

A Seattle court had already ruled Thow had to answer a series of written questions from Cheevers, but until now his only answer has been to invoke his Fifth Amendment right under the U.S. Bill of Rights, which means he refuses to testify under oath on the ground the answers given could be used as evidence to convict him of a criminal offence.

Cheevers said he hopes to finally get some answers from Thow, who has been playing cat and mouse with the Canadian bankruptcy process.

"That's the idea," he said, noting he has many more questions than the 13 that were submitted in writing to Thow's counsel earlier this year. "I believe the examination takes place in a room at the courthouse hopefully with a judge available should Mr. Thow either not present himself or not answer questions appropriately."

Cheevers was also to have received a series of written documents by the end of business yesterday from Thow's legal counsel.

Again it was Brandt who ordered those documents be produced. They included all of Thow's employment records, bank statements, leases, credit card statements, tax returns and passport and travel documents.

Cheevers would not discuss the details of what, if anything, he received.

When asked if those documents and an oral examination of Thow would provide all the information he needed to continue the search for assets, Cheevers could only say it's a case of wait and see.

"Until I've seen the documents, I don't know what questions they will give rise to," he said.

As for where Thow's case ranks in degree of difficulty, Cheevers would only say it's been different.

"It's fairly unusual, put it that way. Most people when in [a bankruptcy] examination are truthful, but it depends; if you don't have a lot to gain by being truthful the truth probably doesn't count for much," he said.

Cheevers would not say what assets have been found to date, though he did mention there had been nothing significant.


Ian Thow takes flight