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Financial fugitive Ian Thow spotted in Seattle


David Baines


Saturday, September 13, 2008


Former investment executive Ian Thow, wanted by RCMP for allegedly defrauding clients of about $10 million, was spotted in his old Seattle neighbourhood last weekend.

Thow moved into the lower Queen Anne neighbourhood, a few blocks north of Seattle's downtown area, about two years ago, after he came under RCMP investigation.

Thow tried to impress his Seattle neighbours with expensive scotch and cigars, and offered to fly them to Jamaica on his private plane.

This was a familiar ploy: Jamaica, private planes and expensive scotch were recurring themes in his alleged con game.

Earlier this year, Thow moved out of his apartment, but his old neighbours spotted him last weekend in the same area, which suggests he really hasn't gone anywhere.

Thow, formerly senior vice-president of Berkshire Investment Group in Victoria, was charged on June 9 with 25 counts of fraud. He is alleged to have induced dozens of clients to invest in a variety of bogus investment schemes, including non-existent shares in the National Commercial Bank of Jamaica.

RCMP didn't disclose the charges until June 26, some 17 days after they were laid. Even then, Thow was nowhere in sight. Police have never said whether they know where he is.

My speculation is they know where he is, and have been talking to Thow through his lawyer about possible surrender.

I believe police have a warrant for his arrest in Canada, but for some reason that escapes me, they do not have a warrant for his arrest in the United States, which explains why he is still walking around Seattle a free man.

I am sure his alleged victims are very frustrated by this state of affairs, but at least they have the comfort of knowing he is in the U.S., rather than some offshore locale like Belize or Antigua, where it would be difficult to extradite him.



Ian Thow takes flight