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Creditors give money to Ian Thow
‘My heart is a little soft,’ says member of group owed millions


Andrew A. Duffy

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Former clients of disgraced Berkshire investment adviser Ian Thow are buzzing over revelations some creditors have been sending him money in Seattle.

Members of the creditor group, which claims Thow left the country owing them in excess of $32 million after persuading them to invest in various schemes, say they are frustrated and confused by the news some of their own have continued to bankroll Thow.

According to documents filed in U.S. bankruptcy court in Seattle, Thow appears to have received money from Nanaimo businessman Tom Harris and Lethbridge, Alta., farmer Kevin Prins following Thow's declaration of bankruptcy in July 2005.

Those documents include questions from bankruptcy trustee Michael Cheevers, who is asking Thow for his sources of income, places of residence and employment information.

The bankruptcy court ruled Thow had until March 12 to answer the questions.

"So far he hasn't and we have started a court process to have the court force him to do that," said Cheevers, noting a court date has been set for June 14 in Seattle. "We're attempting to get information, and in essence Mr. Thow has been reluctant to give us any information on a voluntary basis.

 

"Whether or not he will have counsel attending or whether he will take any notice, who knows, but we are going through the process."

 

Ian Thow

The question dealing with Harris asks Thow to "please describe your relationship with Tom Harris. Include in your description the amount of funds you have received from Harris, the amount of funds you expect to receive from Harris in the future, and the goods, services or consideration, if any, you provided in return for Harris' payments to you."

Cheevers would not divulge how much Thow had received.

When asked what kind of documentation he had to prove Harris and Prins had been sending Thow money, Cheevers replied: "Bank statements." And when pressed if he had proof of these transactions, he said: "I think I have proof."

When reached for comment in Europe, Harris said: "I'd rather not make a comment about it at this point in time."

Last week, Prins confirmed to the Vancouver Sun he had sent Thow money.

"For rent and stuff like that," he told Sun columnist David Baines, though he refused to say how much. When asked why he would do this, he replied, "my heart is a little soft."

Many of Thow's former clients, who have been taking part in the B.C. Securities Commission's hearing into Thow's activities, were reluctant to speak on the record. "It's hard to believe because [Harris] helped organize the group," said one former Thow client.

Harris claims Thow owes him $820,000, while Prins claims $577,000.

Thow, who has neither attended the hearing nor appointed legal counsel to represent his interests, called former Victoria clients Shirley Garwood and Ron Black recently. They were among the 17 who received a settlement from Berkshire.

The securities commission's hearing into Thow's conduct has adjourned until June 6 in Vancouver.

aduffy@tc.canwest.com

see: 

 

Ian Thow takes flight