As the Serious Fraud Office confirms an investigation into David Ross's asset management companies an investor's daughter says she was one of the last people to speak to him.
SFO acting chief executive Simon McArley (below) says they have spent the last fortnight working with the Financial Markets Authority and as a result an investigation has been launched into Mr Ross, Ross Asset Management and its associated entities.
“An evaluation of the information now available has concluded that there are reasonable grounds to believe that an offence of serious fraud may have been committed and accordingly have commenced a Part II investigation under the SFO Act.”
Mr McArley says the SFO is taking the matter extremely seriously, given the scale of the potential loss.
"We will continue to work closely with the FMA to ensure both agencies' resources are applied effectively in a co-ordinated and timely manner. We are meeting with the FMA and PwC receiver John Fisk early this week to progress that.”
Mr Fisk says the application to liquidate RAM is likely to take place “sooner rather than later”.
He is meeting lawyers later today to work out a timeline for the liquidation.
He told NBR ONLINE further applications will be made to the court.
Mr Fisk still has not had any contact with Mr Ross, who is believed to be in Kenepuru Community Hospital in Porirua.
However, patient inquiries still say they have no record of Mr Ross and attempts to contact his wife Jillian or brother Greg are still unsuccessful.
One investor’s daughter, who wishes to remain anonymous, believes she would have been one of the last to speak with Mr Ross.
She rang and left a message with him on Tuesday, October 30 – four days before the FMA raided RAM’s offices and the High Court froze the company’s assets.
She told NBR ONLINE she wanted to speak to Mr Ross after her mother had tried unsuccessfully for more than a week to get in touch with him about releasing some funds.
Mr Ross had previously agreed to release the funds on a specific date, but when that date came they were not released.
“My brothers and I all rang him. We didn’t actually know we were all doing it but we all rang him at the same time. He might’ve thought ‘ok, these people I better fob off’. So I think that’s why he rang me. And also my parents invested with him from 1992 so they were one of the originals.
“He said during the phones call, ‘I apologise. I didn’t put that date in my diary. I will get onto it this afternoon'. And, of course, that never happened.’”
She says when ringing RAM’s office, she sometimes got to speak with someone but on other occasions there was no answer.
The woman was also keen to dispel the myth all RAM investors are affluent.
“I think there’s an impression all the investors were affluent, but that’s not the case at all. I think some of the portfolios looked like they were, but some investors didn’t invest huge amounts of money, but then their portfolios grew.”
She says the money invested in RAM was part of her parent’s nest egg, but luckily it had not all been invested there.