NZ Court rules on £1.1m debt recovery seizure from bankrupt Briton

New Zealand police have uncovered an impressive hoard of gold bars, silver coins and various foreign currencies worth some £1.1m, hidden in secret compartments in the home of a retired UK psychiatrist who was declared bankrupt in 2009.

Back in September of this year, the New Zealand Government was asked to seize the property following a request from a Preston-based insolvency practitioner who cited the property was subject to the UK bankruptcy order, and in doing so has set a global precedent.

Following the civil case, the Hamilton High Court judge ruled that the New Zealand courts must recognise the English bankruptcy order against Mr Simpson and assist in the investigation and recovery of any assets. The ruling in turn led to a series of raids of Mr Simpson’s house by police.

Although a specialist police team found $1million NZD in gold, silver and foreign currency upon their first raid, the police obtained evidence from Mr Simpson’s builder which led investigators to discover a number of secret compartments where upon an additional $1m NZD in gold and silver was found. Furthermore, Mr Simpson voluntarily surrendered some $300,000 NZD more in silver.

Steven Williams, a partner at UK’s business recovery specialist Begbies Traynor was appointed in 2009 by the Official Receiver in the UK to administer the estate of Mr Simpson.

ON announcing the result he commented that:

“This is entirely new ground we are treading. In what we believe to be the first use of the laws utilised, the Official Assignee in New Zealand has been appointed by the court at our request to assist in seizing assets relating to British bankruptcy.

“The £1.1million treasure trove found in Mr Simpson’s home paints a different picture entirely to that of a retired psychiatrist living on a modest pension – spending, according to himself, a mere £170 a week.

“At this stage, we are awaiting the court’s decision on whether it will have to adjudicate on who the fortune belongs to but we are confident that old debts will be rightfully settled.”

The news will undoubtedly be greeted by Mr Simpson’s creditors with delight and the landmark case highlights a victory against the trend of individuals making false declarations in attempting to circumnavigate their liabilities.

If you or your business is concerned about the issues raised in this debt recovery news item and wish to protect against possible bad debts, or look to recover monies that are long overdue, CCDR has a vast array of services at its disposal from debtor tracing and business reports, to debt collection and legal debt recovery. Call today for a no obligation discussion.

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