Business News 12.3.2018 07:53 am

Bobroffs await final sequestration judgement

The pair continue to deny that monies are owed.

Disgraced Gauteng former personal injury attorneys Ronald and Darren Bobroff await the judgement regarding whether their personal estates should be finally sequestrated. The case was argued in the Johannesburg High Court earlier this month before Judge Edwin Molahlehi.

The Bobroffs were provisionally sequestrated in March last year with Acting Judge Etienne Theron noting that “assets may be unearthed that will benefit creditors”.

Read Bobroffs provisionally sequestrated

Strong denials

The Bobroffs strenuously denied that they or their firm, Ronald Bobroff & Partners Incorporated (RBP), owed a total of R3 million to Christine Maree, a 79-year-old Pretoria widow who was the victim of medical negligence, and Yasmin Motara, a 32-year-old Springs teacher who was the innocent party in a catastrophic and life-changing motor vehicle accident.

Maree and Motara are the applicants in the sequestration application.

In March last year, having agreed to hand themselves over to the Hawks for arrest and the arranging of bail, they fled the country for Sydney, Australia as fugitives from South African justice and have continued to litigate prodigiously against their South African creditors.

Ronald and Darren, in opposing their provisional sequestration, stated that they each had some R5 000 in personal creditors, while Darren’s Victory Park home was bonded to Nedbank.

Requisitions

When the creditor requisitions arrived thick and fast after the granting of the provisional sequestration order, a different picture emerged. Here are a few examples:

  • 44 Bolton Road cc, the landlord of RBP, put in a claim of R435 005. A Moneyweb investigation revealed that the members of the close corporation, from 1995, were the three children of Ronald Bobroff: Darren, Cindi Jaches and Lisa Meyerthal. In 2013 Darren resigned and appointed his wife Lisa (née Berman) as a member (part owner). The latter Lisa resigned in 2016 after fleeing for Australia. Company records reflect that the current members (de facto owners) are Jaches and Meyerthal.
  • Ronald’s wife (Darren’s mother) Elaine put in a claim against Darren for R1 million for “monies lent and advanced”. Immediately after Ronald and Darren fled for Australia, Elaine was arrested and arraigned in the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crimes Court where she sought bail. This journalist was present when she testified under oath that apart from owning the family home, she had a modest investment portfolio and dividends that Ronald had donated to her and that she had been a housewife for some 25 years with no other income. Her R1 million claim is at odds with her testimony.
  • R18 million was claimed from the estates of Ronald and Darren by Rugger Investments (Pty) Ltd. Rugger was formed in 2016 and its sole director and shareholder since September 26 2016 (more than six months after Ronald and Darren fled the country) is Cindi Jaches. The money was apparently lent after the provisional sequestration proceedings started. This is not normal business practice. Furthermore, since Ronald and Darren were outside of South Africa, this means that the South African Reserve Bank would have to have given permission for the loan. Moneyweb tried (unsuccessfully) to trace the source of the funds but did manage to establish that Mrs Jaches has for years been employed for a modest salary by the Chevrah Kadisha, a Jewish welfare organisation and does not have the finances or business acumen to set up a financing business.

R102 million seized in Israel

Attorney Anthony Millar, acting for Maree and Motara, had filed papers in court in support of the final sequestration order which pointed out that the Pretoria High Court had in July last year obtained a preservation order in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act seizing R102 million held in the names of Ronald and Darren Bobroff by the Bank Mizrahi Tefahot in Israel.

The Bobroffs opposed the evidence alleging that it was hearsay.

The morning of the final sequestration hearing

Much to the surprise of the judge, and the lawyers present in court – particularly the Bobroffs’ senior counsel, Arnold Subel – an affidavit by Ronald Bobroff dated March 1 2018 was handed in. In it he makes the following startling admissions:

  • “Darren and I do not deny that we are the owners of the majority of funds (credit balances in two accounts in Israel) – a minor amount in the region of R1 million is held for the benefit of a family member.”
  • “The existence and the extent of the funds were never disclosed by Darren and me in any other affidavit previously deposed to by us in these proceedings for the following reasons: (A) We were advised by our attorney [John Joseph Findlay] Cameron that we were under no obligation to do so for the reason that such information was not for the consumption of Maree and Motara and more specifically their attorney [Millar] (being armed with no less than 11 other unlawfully procured judgments). (B) In the event that we had detailed same then we were in no doubt that Millar would have taken steps to have unlawfully obtained judgments recognised by a court in Israel under and in terms of its Foreign Judgments Enforcement Law – 1958, a copy which I attach.”

Judge Molahlehi indicated that he would hand down his judgment on Friday, March 23.

Attorney Johan Cameron responded on behalf of the Bobroffs telling Moneyweb that the matter was sub judice which prevented him or his clients from issuing statements on the case.

Cameron also alleges that this journalist was not present during the proceedings, an allegation which is demonstrably false.

Anthony Millar told Moneyweb that he denied any wrongdoing: “We will continue to pursue all lawful means to obtain payment for our clients of what is due to them. We are confident that justice will prevail.”

No response was forthcoming from Jaches and Meyerthal.

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