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Couple win back $2m from Ross leftovers

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 16/08/2016

A Wellington couple have won their battle to keep $2 million they had tied up in their friend David Ross' Ponzi scheme - leaving other investors further out of pocket.

The High Court has found in favour of Duncan and Nora Priest. Mr Priest, a broker, had been friends with Ross and said he used Ross Asset Management as a nominee to manage share transactions, using its ANZ Bank current account.

Ross is currently serving more than 10 years in prison after his scheme collapsed in 2012 - there was just $10.26m left from funds he claimed were worth nearly $450m.

The liquidator, PwC's John Fisk, has been trying to recover some money for investors in New Zealand's biggest Ponzi scheme. He wanted to have access to all of the $10.26m.

The Priests took the liquidator to court last year, arguing their money was never part of the Ponzi scheme.

In its decision released on Tuesday, the High Court found in favour of the Priests keeping the $2m, saying they had never given Ross discretion to manage investments on their behalf.

The court did say Ross had defrauded the couple when he sold some of their shares to pay money into his scheme.

Defrauded RAM investors expect to receive 3 cents in every dollar invested.

Mr Fisk is seeking to claw back some of the $100m to $115m that was lost in the fraudulent scheme for some 1200 investors.

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