Staff Eric Watson

bruce

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Where's Eric Watson? US regulators seek to serve embattled Kiwi in insider trading case​

Embattled Kiwi businessman Eric Watson is being sought by US authorities after one of his co-defendants in an insider trading case threw in the towel and agreed to pay penalties and not contest the Securities and Exchange Commission case.

The prosecuting regulator told US courts last month it is having trouble finding Watson - one of three individuals subject to complaints about share dealings surrounding the 2017 pivot of Long Island Iced Tea (LTEA) into crypto bandwagoneer Long Blockchain - with attempts to serve him in Spain having no joy.



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A letter from the SEC to the court said alternate service would likely be sought: "Mr Watson is a New Zealand native whom the Commission believed was residing in Spain. On February 2, 2022, I received a response from the Spanish Central Authority and had it translated; according to the translation, two attempts to serve Mr Watson at the provided address were unsuccessful."

The letter said US regulators had been informed by KPMG, liquidators of Watson's New Zealand businesses, that he owed substantial amounts: "According to KPMG's most recent report, filed January 21, 2022, Mr Watson is indebted to the liquidated entities for approximately 57 million New Zealand dollars."

The most recent liquidators report notes KPMG has recently filed proceedings against Watson in the High Court seeking this sum.

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The insider trading complaint, filed by the SEC last year, alleges Watson had tipped off his business associate Oliver-Barret Lindsay in late 2017 of the impending Long Island Blockchain rebrand.

WhatsApp messages between the pair were presented as evidence in court, with one exchange on December 19 seeing Watson share with Lindsay a planned market announcement.

Watson: "Smiling?"

Lindsay: "Laughing ... good job getting that done."

Watson: "When the market sees the deal we may have a $50 stock."

Long Island Iced Tea's closing price that day was US$2.44. The eventual rebrand, on December 21, saw its share price surge to US$6.91. Share trading activity around the time of this spike attracted the SEC's attention.

The SEC alleges Lindsay passed on information from Watson to Californian man Gannon Giguiere, who bought up LTEA shares before the announcement and sold them in the hours afterwards for a US$162,500 profit.

Court filings show Lindsay has elected not to contest the case, with documents filed on February 1 showing he agreed to a settlement with the SEC where, while formally neither admitting or denying the complaint, he agreed to pay a yet-to-be-determined penalty.

The settlement also prevented Lindsay from making any public statement saying he did not admit the allegations, or suggest they were without factual foundation.

The SEC is seeking from defendants any profits from the alleged insider trading, as well as further financial penalties, and orders preventing them serving as officers or directors of US companies.

Requests to Watson for comment on the developments went unanswered over the past fortnight. He last year told the Herald in a statement he would be employing a lawyer to engage with the SEC, but filings show he is yet to join the proceedings.

The SEC case is merely the latest in a series of business calamities for Watson over the past few years. He lost a long-running case with former business partner Sir Owen Glenn in 2018, with frustrated attempts by Glenn to recover an $85m award seeing Watson spend the last few months of 2020 in Pentonville Prison on contempt charges.

His companies also lost a decade-long case against Inland Revenue in 2019 over claims - upheld by the High Court - his 2004 departure from New Zealand, via the Cayman Islands, involved tax avoidance.

That ruling saw IRD begin a still-unsatisfied chase for $112m in back tax, triggering a wave of liquidations in Watson's remaining New Zealand business interests.

Watson, a former New Zealand rich-lister and once the owner of the Warriors rugby league club, was also previously co-owner of Hanover Finance, which left thousands of New Zealand investors hundreds of millions of dollars short after it collapsed at the beginning of the global financial crisis.

Just an arsehole...they will get the fecker.
 
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Where's Watson sounds like a spin off game. When something is popular they crank them out.

Where's Watson doesn't have the same ring to it as Where's Wally.

Marketing guys got their work cut out for them.
 
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bruce

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Where's Watson sounds like a spin off game. When something is popular they crank them out.

Where's Watson doesn't have the same ring to it as Where's Wally.

Marketing guys got their work cut out for them.
When you have the US feds after you...you have problems...it costs big money to get lost too.
 
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Eric Watson pleads 'advancing years' in standoff with SEC​

Where is Eric Watson? It's a question that United States securities regulators will now be asking in advertisements in the New York Times after their efforts to find and serve the controversial New Zealand businessman with formal complaint of insider trading proved unsuccessful.

In July last year the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil complaint that Watson - and two business associates - misused inside information to profit from the crypto bandwagon rebranding of ostensible beverage maker Long Island Ice Tea Corp into Long Blockchain in late 2017.

Watson this week strongly denied any wrongdoing, noting that even if the complaint was taken at face value he is not said to have personally benefited from any of the share transactions in question. "This is somehow being lost in the noise that is this case," he said.

Watson also denied hiding from document servers: "They have my contact details, obviously, but to date have received nothing at any point. If they had or did make contact with me service could appropriately have been arranged."

But court filings show the SEC has tried numerous avenues to contact and serve Watson, with the businessman being difficult to pin down and his agents flatly refusing to accept receipt of the complaint on his behalf.

Repeated attempts to serve Watson via Spanish authorities, who visited his apparent residence in Ibiza, failed as they were unable to locate him. And efforts to serve via lawyers acting for the embattled businessman in unrelated civil fraud proceedings in the United Kingdom, and a former London police officer writing to the SEC on behalf of Watson seeking more information about the insider trading case, were rebuffed.

The SEC mulled, and ultimately decided against, engaging a private investigator in Spain to track down Watson, and instead opted to apply to the court to have service effected by advertisements in the New York Times.

"They may not locate him, and their search is certain to add to the delay in proceeding," the regulator told the court of the private investigator option.

Lawyers for the SEC had submitted Watson was well-aware of the proceedings, pointing to several Herald reports canvassing the complaint where he had provided commentary.

Correspondence filed to the court between the SEC and Mark Winters, the former policeman employed by Watson to engage with the regulators, gives an insight into the standoff.

Winters, who told the Herald this week the complaint as filed by the SEC had "no apparent evidence of anything other than Eric assisting in conjunction with the company's adviser to assist the company with its new venture," told regulators last July he acted for Watson.

"Mr Watson resides in Europe (in a small island community), and given his advancing age would prefer to assist the SEC via facilitated calls and correspondence via my firm," Winters wrote.

Winters said his client was innocent of the allegations - "He is keen to clear his name, as the allegations are damaging to his and his family's reputation" - and rejected reference by regulators to Watson's prior tangling with them in the late 90s over his trading in McCollam Printing shares.

"Eric noted his 'history' with the SEC as mentioned by your team on our call which resulted in a 'no fault' settlement, and believes this has no bearing on the current case at hand," Winters wrote.

Winters concluded his email with a blunt refusal to accept service on his clients' behalf: "Lastly, I confirm that I am not authorised to accept service of your complaint for various legal reasons."

Watson, 63, who looked fit and healthy when the Herald interviewed him last year, joked this week about the reference to his "advancing years" and again stressed his rejection of the complaint.


"Clearly the SEC see this as a serious matter to finalise, as do I. I have via Mark offered to co-operate, ideally with suitable disclosure provided, rather than a trial via media with very little substantive evidence for formal rebuttal," he said.

 
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Eric Watson pleads 'advancing years' in standoff with SEC​

Where is Eric Watson? It's a question that United States securities regulators will now be asking in advertisements in the New York Times after their efforts to find and serve the controversial New Zealand businessman with formal complaint of insider trading proved unsuccessful.

In July last year the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil complaint that Watson - and two business associates - misused inside information to profit from the crypto bandwagon rebranding of ostensible beverage maker Long Island Ice Tea Corp into Long Blockchain in late 2017.

Watson this week strongly denied any wrongdoing, noting that even if the complaint was taken at face value he is not said to have personally benefited from any of the share transactions in question. "This is somehow being lost in the noise that is this case," he said.

Watson also denied hiding from document servers: "They have my contact details, obviously, but to date have received nothing at any point. If they had or did make contact with me service could appropriately have been arranged."

But court filings show the SEC has tried numerous avenues to contact and serve Watson, with the businessman being difficult to pin down and his agents flatly refusing to accept receipt of the complaint on his behalf.

Repeated attempts to serve Watson via Spanish authorities, who visited his apparent residence in Ibiza, failed as they were unable to locate him. And efforts to serve via lawyers acting for the embattled businessman in unrelated civil fraud proceedings in the United Kingdom, and a former London police officer writing to the SEC on behalf of Watson seeking more information about the insider trading case, were rebuffed.

The SEC mulled, and ultimately decided against, engaging a private investigator in Spain to track down Watson, and instead opted to apply to the court to have service effected by advertisements in the New York Times.

"They may not locate him, and their search is certain to add to the delay in proceeding," the regulator told the court of the private investigator option.

Lawyers for the SEC had submitted Watson was well-aware of the proceedings, pointing to several Herald reports canvassing the complaint where he had provided commentary.

Correspondence filed to the court between the SEC and Mark Winters, the former policeman employed by Watson to engage with the regulators, gives an insight into the standoff.

Winters, who told the Herald this week the complaint as filed by the SEC had "no apparent evidence of anything other than Eric assisting in conjunction with the company's adviser to assist the company with its new venture," told regulators last July he acted for Watson.

"Mr Watson resides in Europe (in a small island community), and given his advancing age would prefer to assist the SEC via facilitated calls and correspondence via my firm," Winters wrote.

Winters said his client was innocent of the allegations - "He is keen to clear his name, as the allegations are damaging to his and his family's reputation" - and rejected reference by regulators to Watson's prior tangling with them in the late 90s over his trading in McCollam Printing shares.

"Eric noted his 'history' with the SEC as mentioned by your team on our call which resulted in a 'no fault' settlement, and believes this has no bearing on the current case at hand," Winters wrote.

Winters concluded his email with a blunt refusal to accept service on his clients' behalf: "Lastly, I confirm that I am not authorised to accept service of your complaint for various legal reasons."

Watson, 63, who looked fit and healthy when the Herald interviewed him last year, joked this week about the reference to his "advancing years" and again stressed his rejection of the complaint.


"Clearly the SEC see this as a serious matter to finalise, as do I. I have via Mark offered to co-operate, ideally with suitable disclosure provided, rather than a trial via media with very little substantive evidence for formal rebuttal," he said.

Meanwhile, in a little bush hut on a bushclad hill on the West Coast, an old man goes about his daily chores. Every month he receives a crate of wine, newspapers, other goods and services delivered on horseback by a woman called Jane.
Once he catches up with the latest news he stands at his doorstoop, looks across the millions of hectares of semi-tropical rainforest. Along the ridge he hears the unmistakable sound of a well-tuned chopper starting up and wonders what all the fuss is about...👀

Sorry, had a moment to spare 😏
 

bruce

Contributor

Eric Watson pleads 'advancing years' in standoff with SEC​

Where is Eric Watson? It's a question that United States securities regulators will now be asking in advertisements in the New York Times after their efforts to find and serve the controversial New Zealand businessman with formal complaint of insider trading proved unsuccessful.

In July last year the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil complaint that Watson - and two business associates - misused inside information to profit from the crypto bandwagon rebranding of ostensible beverage maker Long Island Ice Tea Corp into Long Blockchain in late 2017.

Watson this week strongly denied any wrongdoing, noting that even if the complaint was taken at face value he is not said to have personally benefited from any of the share transactions in question. "This is somehow being lost in the noise that is this case," he said.

Watson also denied hiding from document servers: "They have my contact details, obviously, but to date have received nothing at any point. If they had or did make contact with me service could appropriately have been arranged."

But court filings show the SEC has tried numerous avenues to contact and serve Watson, with the businessman being difficult to pin down and his agents flatly refusing to accept receipt of the complaint on his behalf.

Repeated attempts to serve Watson via Spanish authorities, who visited his apparent residence in Ibiza, failed as they were unable to locate him. And efforts to serve via lawyers acting for the embattled businessman in unrelated civil fraud proceedings in the United Kingdom, and a former London police officer writing to the SEC on behalf of Watson seeking more information about the insider trading case, were rebuffed.

The SEC mulled, and ultimately decided against, engaging a private investigator in Spain to track down Watson, and instead opted to apply to the court to have service effected by advertisements in the New York Times.

"They may not locate him, and their search is certain to add to the delay in proceeding," the regulator told the court of the private investigator option.

Lawyers for the SEC had submitted Watson was well-aware of the proceedings, pointing to several Herald reports canvassing the complaint where he had provided commentary.

Correspondence filed to the court between the SEC and Mark Winters, the former policeman employed by Watson to engage with the regulators, gives an insight into the standoff.

Winters, who told the Herald this week the complaint as filed by the SEC had "no apparent evidence of anything other than Eric assisting in conjunction with the company's adviser to assist the company with its new venture," told regulators last July he acted for Watson.

"Mr Watson resides in Europe (in a small island community), and given his advancing age would prefer to assist the SEC via facilitated calls and correspondence via my firm," Winters wrote.

Winters said his client was innocent of the allegations - "He is keen to clear his name, as the allegations are damaging to his and his family's reputation" - and rejected reference by regulators to Watson's prior tangling with them in the late 90s over his trading in McCollam Printing shares.

"Eric noted his 'history' with the SEC as mentioned by your team on our call which resulted in a 'no fault' settlement, and believes this has no bearing on the current case at hand," Winters wrote.

Winters concluded his email with a blunt refusal to accept service on his clients' behalf: "Lastly, I confirm that I am not authorised to accept service of your complaint for various legal reasons."

Watson, 63, who looked fit and healthy when the Herald interviewed him last year, joked this week about the reference to his "advancing years" and again stressed his rejection of the complaint.


"Clearly the SEC see this as a serious matter to finalise, as do I. I have via Mark offered to co-operate, ideally with suitable disclosure provided, rather than a trial via media with very little substantive evidence for formal rebuttal," he said.

This was the man who saved out club, and the Murdoch family saved our game. Yeah right.:rolleyes:...

...just as a coincidence John Ribot was mates with Graham Lowe...both dropped us in the shit with these two.
 
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Advancing years but looked in good shape last time the press spoke to him.

Sounds like he has the affliction a lot of rich people get when the law come for him. Bill Cosby's eye sight started failing, Harvey Weinstein needed a walker. I remember Ron Brierly had issues as well.

Next time we see Eric he'll probably had a mobility scooter.
 

bruce

Contributor
Or a good remote hide-away lol. Greek Islands vs NZ West Coast? Hmm, I know which one would work for me (I hate rain lol). Have we got an extradition policy?
Owen Glenn seems a real nasty bastard to me. He still has a few dollars.

Now I don't know the guy personally but if I had done to him what Watson did, and I were Watson, I think I would be in hiding as well.

Watson won't have a friend on the planet, especially in NZ.

That guy from the NZ shareholders association who Watson sued for defamation, and lost, said about him he lives in the minute i.e doesn't think too far ahead.

To support that I don't think there was any investment he made an honest dollar on, he was just a grifter like Donald Trump.

The worst think that ever happened to our club, apart from Murdoch.
 
Hiding in Spain? Presumably in Marbella which is where the cockney geezer gangsters used to live in the pre extradition treaty days. Barbara Windsors former husband was one of them

Unless he’s had to go downmarket and is out on the piss in Benidorm.
 
Hiding in Spain? Presumably in Marbella which is where the cockney geezer gangsters used to live in the pre extradition treaty days. Barbara Windsors former husband was one of them

Unless he’s had to go downmarket and is out on the piss in Benidorm.
Or Greymouth lol, who would ever look for you there lol? And if they did, a few yards off the road you're in Wilder Country
 
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bruce

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Greymouth
NZ country areas are no place to hide, every fecker knows who you are, and Watson is no George Wilder.

There are lots of millionaire hideaways up north as well, totally hidden from the road, but all the locals know.

Seriously, I reckon he is just as afraid of hitmen than the Feds...I am surprised he came out of prison in one piece.
 
He could hide in the Warriors trophy cabinet. No one visits there very often. Only for the small games between individual clubs have some minor trophy on the line. We are probably not winning those either looking at our win rate.

 

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