Cross Border Insolvency Investigation recovers $3.5 million in hidden treasure

A joint investigation between UK and New Zealand authorities has recovered hidden assets worth over £1.5 million pounds from a reclusive millionaire that had been made bankrupt in 2009.

Retired psychiatrist Alan Geraint Simpson (68) was living in Hamilton, New Zealand but had been declared bankrupt in England due to outstanding debts to his creditors. The UK Court ruled that he owed £242,920 to his creditors including interest and costs.

These debts were mainly attributed to being a “Name” at Lloyds of London; an insurance institution that spread its profits (and risks) to individuals that invested into this business. When Lloyds of London faced massive losses for settlements in US Courts these losses were in turn passed onto the “Names” who were financially liable for these losses.

In 1998 Mr Simpson was ordered to pay in excess of £200,000 but launched a counter claim against Lloyds for fraud and failure of duty; this was lost and it was judged that Mr Simpson was liable for these debts. He was then made bankrupt by Lloyds and this is where the issues began.

Once Mr Simpson had been located and traced to New Zealand, a representative from Insolvency Company Begbies Traynor began to deal with any assets held by Mr Simpson. The cross border aspect of this Insolvency made this case fairly complex and assistance was requested by the UK trustee to authorities in New Zealand.

Mr Simpson stated that he was surviving on a UK pension of £1245 per year and New Zealand pension of around $1284 per month while bringing up a teenage Daughter.

In a demonstration of “cross border insolvency co-operation” the UK trustee worked with the New Zealand Insolvency and Trustee service and also an Auckland based specialist police search group.

Using a search warrant an initial visit was made to Mr Simpsons home where the police team found gold, silver and cash to the value of $1,000,000. However after receiving a tip off from a New Zealand builder the search team returned to the property and found various secret compartments and areas in the property. Hidden safes, compartments and bunkers held the enormous stash of money, gold and silver.

The total amount recovered is reported to have been $3.5 million New Zealand dollars-roughly £1.75 million in sterling.

The investigation itself cost around $500,000 and this cost was taken from the assets discovered.

When questioned in relation to perjury, Mr Simpson denied on oath that the seized items were his and denied that he had misled authorities in relation to hiding assets and also using a false name of “James Walter Smith”.

 

Sources, Begbie Traynor, New Zealand Herald & Stuff.co.nz

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