Johannesburg - Having fled South Africa in March, embattled father-and-son lawyers Ronald and Darren Bobroff appear to be settling down for the long haul in Australia, after apparently recently purchasing a R26 million house in Sydney.
The father and son, as well as Darren’s wife Lisa, quickly sold their law firm, Ronald Bobroff & Partners, allegedly after receiving a tip-off that the men were going to be arrested on money-laundering charges involving tens of millions of rands.
Days later, the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, granted a curatorship order after it was revealed that the Bobroffs’ firm had accrued almost R30 million spread over several bank accounts, and that the Road Accident Fund was set to pay a further R45 million to it.
This happened after the Law Society of the Northern Provinces conducted an audit, revealing gross financial irregularities at the firm.
This week, National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Luvuyo Mfaku confirmed the NPA had instituted extradition proceedings against the Bobroffs to ensure they stood trial for their alleged crimes.
But this apparently hasn’t stopped the Bobroff family from trying to make a new life in Australia, with Darren recently registering as a director of a real estate company, REB Properties. The same company has been linked through property records to the purchase of a A$2.53 million (R26 million) home in Sydney, sold to the company in June.
The four-bedroom, three-bathroom home boasts a designer kitchen, large swimming pool and garden. However, Bobroff family lawyer David Bayliss this week denied the purchase of the home and the registering of the company.
Sent queries on whether the Bobroffs planned to return to South Africa or were remaining in Australia, he said: “In response to your mail I am instructed that the allegations are factually incorrect. I cannot comment further.”
He was also unwilling to comment on the extradition proceedings instituted by the NPA, though earlier this year he was adamant that the State could not initiate extradition proceedings against Ronald and Darren until it had completed its investigation.
The investigation into the Bobroff firm dated back to 2011 when the Road Accident Fund (RAF) received numerous complaints from claimants represented by the firm.
In February, the Law Society of the Northern Provinces allegedly found evidence that the two lawyers had overcharged accident victims in their claims against the RAF.
In one instance, Bobroff & Partners had represented Jennifer and Matthew Graham, who were charged more than the Contingency Fees Act allowed. They complained to the Law Society in 2011 that they had been overcharged. Matthew Graham had suffered brain injuries in a 2006 accident.