He said RCMP "were happy with our
decision to apply for that warrant," which will enable police to arrest
Thow if he returns to Canada. He noted, however, that it is not an
Thow has been accused by numerous
creditors of criminal fraud, and although RCMP have talked with Crown
counsel about laying charges, none have been laid to date.
Several groups of creditors have filed
lawsuits alleging that Thow induced them to buy shares of the National
Commercial Bank of Jamaica, which is 75-per-cent owned by Berkshire's
parent company, AIC Ltd., of Burlington, Ont.
Other creditors have alleged that Thow
persuaded them to buy what he purported to be seed shares of Berkshire,
which he claimed was planning to go public, or guaranteed investment
certificates that he claimed would yield 10 per cent annually.
In all cases, he failed to deliver the
securities, or return their money, creditors say.
In addition to Thow, investors have also
sued Berkshire on grounds that the firm is vicariously responsible or
negligent in its supervision of Thow.
Berkshire officials deny any
responsibility. They say none of these investments were authorized by the
firm and insist they had no knowledge of what they describe as Thow's
"outside" business activities.
CREDIT: Darren Stone, Times Colonist
Creditor Brad Goodwin and his lawyer
Katherine Ducey speak during a break at a meeting of creditors of Ian
Thow at the Hotel Grand Pacific on Monday.
Berkshire was represented at Monday's
meeting by Vancouver lawyer Kibben Jackson, who
told reporters the company
was "outraged" at Thow's actions and has filed a claim against him for
In some cases, investors became concerned
about their investments and pressed Thow to return their money. In several
instances, he refunded some or all of their money.
Cheevers told creditors that these
refunds may constitute a "fraudulent preference" -- a repayment that
prefers one creditor over another. He warned that he will "look very hard
at those transactions" to determine which investors will have to return
this money for the benefit of all creditors.
This has ominous implications for
creditors such as the Goodwin family of Ladner and Richmond, who at Thow's
urging invested $2.5 million in what was purported to be Jamaican bank
shares. They subsequently became concerned about the viability of the
investment and asked for their money back. Thow refunded $1.5 million,
leaving a net claim of $1 million.
By all outward appearances, Thow was an
extremely successful investment executive who gave generously to the
Victoria community and lived a hugely extravagant life with three jet
planes, a helicopter and a 56-foot power yacht.
"His lifestyle was obviously profligate,
and he spent huge amounts of money supporting that lifestyle," Cheevers
In a written report, Cheevers said he
analysed 60 bank and credit card accounts and determined that Thow
received $7.15 million cash directly from creditors through five private
He said that, in the 30-month period from
January 2003 to June 2005, Thow "charged $2,648,726 between his personal
MasterCard, Royal Bank Visa and Scotiagold Visa cards. ... Included in
these figures are cash advances totalling $428,893, the majority of which
were taken either in or close to casinos."
Cheevers also said that, during the same
30-month period, Thow spent $145,313 on dining, $826,079 on trips (mainly
hotel accommodation), $100,546 on jewelry, $137,963 on clothing and
$180,487 on furniture.
"He led a lifestyle to which I am not
accustomed," Cheevers remarked.
But these expenditures, as large as they
are, do not come close to the $32 million that creditors are claiming they
Cheevers said that so far there is no
indication that Thow stashed any money in Canada or offshore, but he
conceded his examination has been restricted to the records at his
"The best way to hide assets is not to
record them," he noted.