R100m of fugitives Bobroffs’ money frozen in Israel
The Bobroff family is accused of fleecing the Road Accident Fund before fleeing to Australia in March 2016
The Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) has frozen more than R100m in bank accounts held in Israel by fugitive attorneys Ronald Bobroff and his son Darren‚ the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said on Friday.
The money was initially frozen by the Israeli authorities after they became suspicious of transactions being conducted in the Bobroffs’ accounts. The Bobroffs fled to Australia in March last year‚ a day before they were supposed to appear before the High Court in Pretoria on fraud and money laundering charges relating to suspected infringements in their handling of Road Accident Fund (RAF) claims.
The Bobroffs stand accused of having fleeced RAF claimants by over-inflating their legal fees.
The NPA said: "On July 28 2017‚ the AFU ... obtained an order in the North Gauteng High Court‚ freezing a cash amount of about R101m‚ which is held in two bank accounts in Israel," adding that the bank accounts are held in the father’s and son’s names. The Bobroffs face "serious charges of overcharging clients and related fraudulent actions".
"The Bobroffs’ modus operandi was to convince clients to enter into … agreements. The clients were unaware that these agreements were‚ in actual fact‚ null and void and that they were used as a tool by the Bobroffs to commit alleged fraud‚ theft and tax evasion."
"In addition‚ the Bobroffs invested a substantial amount of Ronald Bobroff and Partners (RBP) monies in an investment account," the NPA said. "The account was‚ however‚ not reflected as a trust creditor account in RBP’s trust accounting records. The money in the investment account provided the Bobroffs with an opportunity to avoid the taxation of the interest earned on the monies invested, as well as with an opportunity to launder funds without being detected."
The money is currently being kept safe in Israel until the finalisation of forfeiture proceedings.