Andrew A. Duffy and Richard Watts
Saturday, September 10, 2005
An arrest warrant is being sought for former Victoria investment adviser
Ian Thow, who has gone to the U.S. with two truckloads of household
The receiver for people owed money by Thow, Michael Cheevers, of Wolrige
Mahon Ltd., said an application for the warrant has been made.
Cheevers said that under the bankruptcy act it is not technically illegal
to cross the border. It is, however, not permitted to take assets out of
Whether that provision of the bankruptcy act applies to Thow is something
a judge will have to decide. But the nature of Thow's exit is enough to
cause concern, he said. "It is unusual for people who should be attending
creditors meetings to be going across the border like that," he said.
Thow left Canada at about 1:30 a.m. Thursday, crossing the border into the
United States at Blaine, Wash. At the time, he was under investigation for
fraud by the RCMP.
RCMP Staff Sgt. Tim Alder said Thow crossed into the U.S. by showing an
American birth certificate. With no charges against him, Canadian police
could not ask for him to be detained.
RCMP investigators don't expect to complete their investigation into Thow
until early 2006.
But with Thow leaving the country Alder said officers have an incentive to
finish their investigation and go to Crown prosecutors to have charges
approved, and seek their own arrest warrant.
"All this does is goad me to get something done quicker," he said.
Thow is supposed to attend a Monday meeting with creditors where he was
expected to outline a proposal for repayment. The former senior
vice-president with Berkshire Investment Group owes $42.9 million to 102
unsecured and nine secured creditors.
He has filed a proposal with the Office of the Superintendent of
Bankruptcy in Vancouver offering the sale of his home, about $500,000 in
vehicles and other assets and $5 million he claimed to be getting from a
mysterious benefactor, who has not materialized.
The proposal boils down to creditors getting no more than 50 cents on the
The creditors meeting, in Victoria, is scheduled to go ahead on Monday.
But with Thow's recent exit, his creditors are expected to reject his
proposed repayment plan and proceed with bankruptcy.
Katherine Ducey, a lawyer representing a number of people who contend Thow
owes them money, said she expects the meeting to quickly progress to a
A formal trustee will have to be appointed as well as inspectors from the
She also said Thow filed for bankruptcy in the U.S. last week and she
isn't sure if that will complicate efforts to bring him back to Canada.
Thow resigned from Berkshire last May. Since then, the company has
distanced itself from his actions.
Before his resignation, the 43-year-old Thow lived lavishly with planes, a
helicopter, flashy cars, a waterfront mansion in Central Saanich and a
But apart from the house, most of Thow's lifestyle was financed. Those
loans are now being called in, along with other claims from people who
believed they were making investments with Thow.
People ranging from retired school teachers to Alex Campbell, chairman of
Thrifty Foods, are making claims.
Brad Goodwin, a Richmond man whose family invested more than $1.3 million
with Thow, said he almost lost heart when he heard of Thow's move.
"I don't like to be negative but when he crossed the border and I heard
about it, I thought 'There go all our chances,' " said Goodwin.
Meanwhile, at least one creditor has tried to take matters into his own
On Thursday, a $100,000 dock from Thow's $7-million waterfront home was
removed by a tugboat. It was returned after police were alerted by
According to Central Saanich Police spokesman Jim Scott, charges will not
be laid. Scott said the tug operator was hired to remove the dock by
"someone who feels he has claim to the property."
"This individual who laid claim to the dock, who says it's his, he will
have to support his case in some fashion to the receiver," said Scott, who
refused to name the individual.
"We're not pursuing any criminal charges on this, but would pursue theft
charges or possession of stolen property in the event any further attempts