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Ross wants to raise cash to pay legal bills

HAMISH RUTHERFORD
Last updated 07:50 27/11/2012

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The founder of failed investment firm Ross Asset Management and his wife are seeking permission to sell chattels to help cover his legal bills and recoup household costs.

Lawyers for David Ross, sole director of the company feared to have run what could turn out to be New Zealand's largest Ponzi scheme, were in the High Court at Wellington yesterday for the latest hearing on freezing orders over his assets and companies.

Ross was not in court, but a memorandum from his lawyer, Gary Turkington, revealed that solicitors were in talks with the receiver, PricewaterhouseCoopers, about selling chattels he owns with wife Jillian to help cover his legal bills.

It added that Mrs Ross had incurred household debts that had to be paid from her personal bank account, which "should be reimbursed from their joint account".

The asset freezing order obtained by the Financial Markets Authority gives the couple $1000 a week to live on as well as releasing funds for "reasonable" legal bills.

Both sides have accepted that there is a shortage of cash or easily saleable assets owned solely by Ross, with the $153,000 incurred by the receivers so far having to be covered by selling assets owned by Ross Asset Management.

Turkington said whatever of Ross' assets were sold to cover costs, it would be a matter of public record, open to anyone seeking to recover money from him.

"For the avoidance of any doubt whatsoever I have recommended, and David has completely accepted, that this process should be totally open."

Turkington likened the situation to that of Kim Dotcom and Mark Hotchin, both of whom had been subject to court-approved asset freezing orders.

Ross Asset Management was placed in receivership early this month, with the first receivers' report showing that of the $450 million investors believed was being managed on their behalf, little over $10m had been established as existing.

Receiver John Fisk said the figure had risen to $11.48m by yesterday.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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