Trial of financier begins

 

Cork-born financier Mr George Finbarr Ross, whose Gibraltar-based company International Investments Ltd went bust in 1984, owing millions to depositors, was forced into "robbing" new investors to pay off his original clients, it was claimed at his trial in Belfast yesterday.

Prosecuting counsel, Mr John Creaney QC, told the Crown Court - where Mr Ross (54) denies a total of 39 charges, including duping investors and false accounting - that, as the years, passed it "became a greater strain, then an impossibility" for International Investments to pay investors.

The charges faced by Mr Ross, relating to dates between December 1983 and March the following year involved one of attempting to procure investments, two of procuring and 36 of false accounting.

Mr Creaney further claimed that Mr Ross continued to seek investors until things began to unravel when the authorities in Gibraltar refused to renew the company's banking licence, by which time Mr Ross had moved to the US, after having already handed over his interest in International Investments to others.

When finally, between June and August 1984, the company went into liquidation, receivers found that while International Investments had assets of less than £2 million sterling, its liability to its investors totalled some £7 million sterling, a shortfall of some £5 million. The case continues.