Saturday, July 11, 2009
Erwin Singh Braich
Erwin Singh Braich was born in Mission, British Columbia, in 1955. He retired in the early 1990s, and acquired a second home in La Jolla, California. He has always been a Canadian citizen and resident of British Columbia.
In 1996 he was named the Citizen of the Year by his hometown, Mission, B.C. He was unable to attend the ceremony in person, due to the fact that he was he was the only Canadian, in a group of 15 business leaders, who was meeting with U.S. Vice-president, Al Gore and Russian Premier Viktor Chernomyrdin, to discuss market reforms for former Soviet Block Countries.
In June of 1999, a lawyer from West Vancouver - Brian McLean - and his clients Glenn Walsh (a resident of Kamloops, B.C. and Valetta, Malta)/Tercon Contractors Ltd., filed a Petition in the Supreme Court of B.C., which initiated involuntary bankruptcy proceedings against Mr. Braich. This Petition was aided, in part, by Herbishan (Bobby) Singh Braich (one of Erwin’s younger brothers).
Earlier that same year, Erwin Singh Braich, a well respected and internationally known industrialist and philanthropist, was voted - Business Person of the Year - by the International Punjabi Chamber of Commerce.
In the summer and fall of 1999,McLean/Walsh/Tercon peculiarly “shopped” for any creditor to join them in their Petition. They were unable to find anyone except for Bobby Braich, as mentioned above.
Between June and October of 1999, the Petition was adjourned several times. These adjournments took place without any knowledge of, consultation with, or notice being given to 96% of the creditors.During this period in 1999, Erwin Singh Braich hired Vancouver lawyer, Gordon Elliott, an experienced bankruptcy and insolvency practitioner. By contrast, Brian McLean admits (in court transcripts) that he is not an ‘expert’ in this area of practice. Gordon Elliott was paid in excess of $100,000 by Braich, during a four month span in 1999.
After an agreement had been reached between Gordon Elliott and Brian McLean, Elliott was sent to Europe (in his capacity as an Officer of the Court) to assess the net value of the assets which were owned by Mr. Braich overseas.Elliott was voluntarily funded by Braich and sanctioned by the Court and Mr. McLean. A list of assets was provided to Elliott with instruction that he could continue going through the list, and travel from country to country, until he was satisfied and could report back to the Court that the net value of assets exceeded his debts. In fact, prior to Elliott’s return from Europe, he was so impressed, that Elliott asked Braich how he additionally could "get in on the action".
Elliott reported to the Court about his findings - on October 1, 1999. Justice Duncan Shaw heard part of the case in the morning, and quite surprisingly Justice Peter Lowry decided the matter in the afternoon. It is still unclear why two judges heard the same case in one day.Elliott clearly told everyone that there were hundreds of millions of dollars worth of net assets in Europe owned and controlled by Braich, and that the amount he owed to his creditors was relatively small.
Elliott further confirmed to the Court that due to these facts and inclusive of the net value of the assets beneficially owned in North America by Braich, the amount that Braich owed to his creditors was not at risk.In fact, Elliott’s own partner, in his law firm, was preparing a trust for one of Braich’s Canadian assets, which was worth millions of dollars ('Sandy Hill' in Abbotsford).Instead of these facts benefiting the majority of lawful creditors and Braich, it appears Elliott's confirmation of the value of Mr. Braich's assets only further motivated Walsh/McLean/Tercon to continue to try and negotiate, but truly extort a better deal for themselves.
In the case of Bobby Braich, this information only further fuelled his curiosity.Shockingly, Justice Peter Lowry, after much hesitation, pronounced an Order appointing KPMG as Receiver on October 1, 1999. Mr. Erwin Singh Braich was present in the courtroom that day, and when he tried to present overwhelming evidence on a viva voce basis, it was challenged on a mere technicality by Brian McLean.Mr. Braich and the vast majority of his creditors contend that Brian McLean and his clients Glenn Walsh/Tercon Contractors and Bobby Braich and his lawyer Shelley Fitzpatrick, had their own personal motives to initiate and support these proceedings over the course of ten years.
It is alleged that Walsh/Tercon/McLean, initiated the Petition to extort a larger percentage from Braich of the approximately U.S.$28 million Account Receivable on the books of an oil refinery know as ‘Plama’ which is located in Bulgaria.
It is believed that Bobby Braich’s motive was more of an inquisitive and vengeful nature. He was once was caught misappropriating funds from Jackson Brother’s Logging (a company which was wholly owned by the Braich brothers, and of which Erwin was CEO).When it was discovered that Bobby had been misappropriating funds, Bobby signed a restitution agreement admitting his crime, and was rehired by Erwin after family intervention.
It is believed that the humiliation of being caught stealing, coupled with him being tired of living in the shadow of his older brother, were the primary motives that he went from being a secured creditor, to an unsecured creditor (secured creditors cannot assist in a Petition the same way an unsecured creditors can, according to the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act in Canada).
It has been over a decade, since the Petition was initiated resulting in the the Court appointing KPMG as Receiver of the Estate of Erwin Singh Braich. In the years that have passed, not one creditor, besides Glenn Walsh/Tercon have contributed any funds to KPMG. Not even Bobby Braich.
Strangely, the liquidation by KPMG of the cash surrender values of life insurance policies belonging to Erwin have surpassed the Walsh/Tercon contributions.In fact Erwin Singh Braich offered KPMG in excess of $100,000, to do a forensic audit on his affairs. This offer was made over the telephone and in a four and a half hour face to face meeting, which was tape recorded with KPMG's consent. The offer was refused by Robert Rusko/KPMG. This tape is one of the items still missing from the raid conducted on Braich's hotel room in Bellingham, Washington.
The alleged bankrupt (Mr. Braich), the only secured creditor (Clock Holdings Ltd.), and many other creditors were not invited to the improperly convened, first meeting of creditors, held in November of 1999.Due to this and a myriad of other reasons, approximately one year later on September 12, 2000, Master Patterson ordered that KPMG hold this meeting of creditors. KPMG has remained in breach of the Court’s Order since it was pronounced.
In over a decade not one cross-examination has taken place, on any of the Affidavits that the court has relied upon to make all of its rulings. This despite numerous requests by creditors and Mr. Braich. In contrast, Mr. Braich has been ready, willing and able to be cross-examined on all of his voluminous material as filed, but KPMG has never made even one request to do so.
In addition the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy has formally declined to examine Braich.A copy of the file, which creditors are entitled to according to the law, has not even been provided by KPMG, despite the numerous requests that have been made (Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act R.S.C. 1985, c. B-3). All appointments and/or changes to the Inspectors in this matter have been made in direct contravention of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.Currently an application has been brought on by KPMG Inc., to be discharged as Trustee despite never having even been affirmed by the general body of creditors, pursuant to the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.
The hearing is scheduled for 10:00 am on July 15, 2009. KPMG's request to withdraw is a welcomed move by the creditors and Mr. Braich, as they have for years been requesting this very action as KPMG refused to properly convene a first a meeting of creditors and has not been acting in their best interests.In desperation KPMG has also asked the court to give them, and any others that are, or have been connected to the administration of the bankruptcy, throughout the past decade, immunity from any of the remedies available to Braich and his creditors.In this day and age, it is truly shocking that KPMG would make such a request, especially considering it is be done without a copy of the file being provided to the creditors, and no cross-examination has been allowed on any of the materials in the file (the file is over three feet thick).
This sounds like something that could only happen in Guantanamo Bay, not Vancouver, British Columbia.KiDDAA has learned that individual creditors have filed their own Motions requesting, among other things, permission to view the file, and to cross-examine Robert Rusko and others on their Affidavits. These Motions are also scheduled to be heard on July 15, 2009.
In one particular Motion, creditor Michael McCormack of Vancouver B.C., has asked that Chief Justice Donald Brenner (the judge that is seized of this file and is presiding on July 15, 2009), to recuse himself due to the fact that he is going to be receiving a subpoena from the United States and will be named as a defendant in lawsuits based in Canada and/or the U.S.
http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Supreme+Court+Chief+Justice+Donald+Brenner+resigns/1685949/story.htmlKiDDAA’s investigative team will bring you the news at it unfolds. We welcome your comments on this story.