Bobroffs wanted by Interpol

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Seeing the faces of Ronald and Darren Bobroff, the fugitive father-and-son attorneys, plastered on “Wanted” posters circulated by Interpol is a startling reminder that they have not been forgotten by South Africa’s law enforcement.
by TALI FEINBERG | Jul 19, 2018

The posters are Red Notices – requests to locate and provisionally arrest an individual pending extradition. Interpol’s General Secretariat issues these at the request of a member country or an international tribunal, based on a valid national arrest warrant. A Red Notice is not an international arrest warrant, explained Tony Beamish on Moneyweb last week. The Red Notices were issued back in 2016, but it only emerged this week that they were issued.

The Bobroffs were partners in, and directors of, the personal injury law firm, Ronald Bobroff & Partners (RBP) in Rosebank, Gauteng. The Red Notices state that the Bobroffs are fugitives wanted for prosecution for fraud. The notices read for both individuals: “It is alleged that the suspect committed fraud in that cheques were made out to clients of the firm Ronald Bobroff and Partners Inc as if they were the beneficiaries of said cheques, when said cheques were, in actual fact, paid into their own or other family members’ bank accounts.”

The Bobroffs face a range of civil and criminal charges in South Africa, including illegal fee agreements, tax evasion, theft, money laundering and fraud. Since they fled South Africa, there have been multiple investigations, conducted by the Law Society, the South African Revenue Service, the Road Accident Fund, the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), which have amassed an estimated amount of ill-gotten gains exceeding R1 billion. The Law Society of the Northern Provinces (LSNP) said: “The most devastating finding was that the Bobroffs’ trust account had ‘lost its identity’. They had mixed their clients’ funds with their own.”

Ronald and Darren Bobroff and their families fled South Africa in 2016, the day before they had agreed to hand themselves over to the Hawks to stand trial on charges of fraud and theft. Ronald’s wife, Elaine, stayed behind and was arrested before being let out on bail, having to hand in her travel documents and report to the police station weekly.

It is unclear how or why the Bobroffs were let out of the country. They currently live in the upmarket Sydney suburb of St Ives. On social media, Darren Bobroff is not shy about his life in Australia, even posting a picture of the Sydney Harbour on 8 July. On Ronald Bobroff’s Facebook page, a South African Jewish community member recently asked him to “come back with your son to SA and stand trial”.

But it seems that he, too, is settling into his new life. Moneyweb came across a testimonial from New South Wales (NSW) barrister and law professor Peter Cashman, showing that Bobroff senior is intending to rejoin the Australian legal profession. Cashman wrote that he believes Ronald Bobroff to be “a person of integrity and passion with regard to the interest of victims of all forms of personal injury and medical negligence, and a lawyer who has devoted most of his professional life to serving the South African attorneys’ profession”. He also writes that Ronald Bobroff, notwithstanding his being struck off of the Roll of Attorneys in South Africa, will be “a valuable member of the [Australian] solicitors’ profession…”

NPA spokesman Luvuyo Mfaku told the SA Jewish Report that “the extradition process cannot begin until the investigation is complete”, and with a forensic report still outstanding, this may take time. “You have to ensure that when a person is extradited, they will not face any other charges than the ones on the charge sheet,” he explained.

Despite all these processes in play, the Bobroffs insist on their innocence. On the website, they say they were “forced to flee South Africa in fear for their lives” and that they are “victims of a vendetta”.

Their local attorney, John Cameron, reminds readers that the NPA has had five years to close the case since a charge of fraud was first laid at the Rosebank Police Station in 2013. “To the knowledge of the Bobroffs, no extradition application has been finalised by the NPA – the only question that arises therefrom is why not, and the only inference to be drawn therefrom is that whatever criminal complaints of fraud that exist are without any substance and/or foundation,” he wrote in response to questions from the SA Jewish Report.

He said that the Red Notices do have consequences for his clients. Should they attempt to travel out of Australia, they face arrest and thereafter deportation to South Africa (essentially a type of extradition without due process).

He emphasises that “the Bobroffs continue to maintain their innocence” and they “hereby invite any of your readers to submit, in writing to our offices, instances where they have been defrauded by them in order that they may then consider such submissions and to then, if necessary, react thereto”.

Furthermore, he adds: “All the Bobroffs request is that the Jewish community does not decide in the ‘court of public opinion’ that they are guilty of crimes of fraud before knowing all the correct facts [that] the Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit (SCCU), despite a passage time of five years, is strangely not prepared to disclose to them.”

1 Comment

  1. 1 Mervyn Resnick 25 Jul
    The South African justice system is so inept,incompetent and corrupt that the Bobroffs must be laughing all the way to The St Ives Shopping Village where they can hold court and play the victims of an imagined vendetta planned against them by malevolent companies and individuals,whilst sipping coffees.
    I hope that they are welcomed into the St Ives community and given honours in the local Shul where they can sponsor a Kiddish or three with kichel and herring and lots of RED RED label Scotch.
    Their redemption from this malicious "court of public opinion "would be therefore to get to the St Ives Chevrahs'  stomachs.


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