Police to extradite 'enemy' of 'crooked and creepy' from Oz

03 April 2016 - 02:00 By MONICA LAGANPARSAD

For more than 40 years, Ronald Bobroff carved a name for himself as a crusader for those injured in car accidents and by medical negligence. He and his son, Darren, vowed to take on "the crooked, corrupt and creepy". But now the duo are on the run in a bid to escape fraud and money-laundering charges involving hundreds of millions of rands.South African police have begun steps to extradite the two personal-injury lawyers back to South Africa, and an Interpol "red notice" has been issued for the arrest of the men.Bobroff fled to Australia last week with Darren and Darren's wife, Lisa, shortly after the two men agreed that they would hand themselves over to police to face charges of fraud and money laundering.The brazen dash prompted their lawyers, BDK Attorneys, to dump them.story_article_left1Attorney Ulrich Roux declined to comment but confirmed his firm no longer represented the Bobroffs. But an insider said members of the law firm were left red-faced after they had to learn from the media that their clients had fled.After a two-year investigation into the Bobroffs' legal practice, the Hawks are still unearthing more victims and tallying up the vast extent of the alleged fraud.Hawks spokesman Robert Netshiunda said: ''We are still investigating, but so far hundreds of millions of rands have been making the rounds in their bank accounts. More victims are still coming out, so we cannot give an exact number as yet."He confirmed the Interpol red notice and that extradition procedures had begun. He said the Bobroffs were in Australia, but would not say where.Among the claims are that the Bobroffs overcharged clients, took months to pay them and charged 40% in contingency fees. The law allows attorneys to charge a maximum of 25%.Road Accident Fund spokeswoman Linda Rulashe said the charges of fraud arose from bills the Bobroffs had sent the organisation. ''These bills included consultations with his clients which, according to affidavits obtained from the clients, never took place."To date, 18 matters have been referred to the SAPS, but ongoing investigations may lead to other referrals," she said.The father and son also face being struck off the roll of attorneys and their 41-year-old firm was last week placed under curatorship by the Law Society of the Northern Provinces.Curator Johan van Staden said the trust accounts, which held about R27-million, would be used to pay clients and debtors.Law society vice-president Sbu Gule said the investigation had led to a litany of civil applications and counterapplications brought against - and by - the Bobroffs.While Ronald and Darren are keeping a low profile in Australia, Ronald's 68-year-old wife, Elaine, was arrested at her lawyer's office in Houghton, Johannesburg, last week. She was held in police custody overnight and charged with fraud and money laundering before being released on R50,000 bail.Ronald, who was contacted by a local radio station last week, said it was a disgrace that his elderly wife was arrested. ''Imprisoned for doing nothing ... it's disgraceful," he said before ending the call.

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