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Former accountant reluctantly consents to extradition order
Attorney-General of Australia weighs Hofman case
Tags: Hofman Case Investigation
ROCKHAMPTON, Australia – More than sixteen years after Fed Siebold Hofman fled Canada aboard a flight from Seattle to the Netherlands, he has reluctantly consented to return to Canada on an extradition order to face over fifty charges of fraud and theft. The former Vancouver accountant (70), in Australia known as Piet Cornelius Walters, who has no lawyer, told the Rockhampton Magistrates Court he wants to go back to Canada because no one is helping him to pay for his defense in Australia.
The fugitive from Canadian justice was sentenced to a prison term of eight years in Cairns, Queensland, last year. Walters/Hofman has been in jail since that time. His sentence was overturned on a technicality earlier this year and he is now awaiting a six-week trial in Cairns, which is scheduled for October 2007.
In a court appearance in Rockhampton, near the Capricornia Correctional Centre where he is incarcerated, Walters/Hofman initially told Magistrate Mark Morrow that he was consenting to extradition to Canada but did so involuntarily because he has no money for a lawyer to fight extradition. He complained that both Legal Aid in Australia and the Dutch government had refused to assist him in relation to the extradition.
Magistrate Morrow told Walters/Hofman he could not accept an involuntary consent and allowed him some time to peruse the Extradition Act. After an adjournment, Walters/Hofman now agreed to a voluntary consent for extradition. The magistrate signed a letter to the Attorney-General of Australia, who will decide if, and when, Waters/Hofman will be extradited.
A Dutch citizen, Hofman came to Canada with his family in the early 1950s where he established an accounting practice in the early 1970s and offered a range of financial services for clients. He also traded in securities on the Vancouver Stock Exchange which BC authorities already tried to stop in 1988. After his disappearance in 1991, numerous civil court cases were launched, demanding the repayment of about $10 million. Numerous other former Hofman clients together claimed even more missing money. Many of them registered with a committee which for a time coordinated matters of mutual concern.
In the State of Queensland, on the northeastern coast of Australia, authorities in 2002 ran into problems with Piet Cornelius Walters, a Dutchman who had purchased an accounting practice called Drury Management Pty. Ltd. That did business in Cairns and area. Australian investors allegedly lost millions of dollars. While awaiting court action over criminal charges, Walters was arrested in 2003 on account of immigration irregularities. Forensic work on Walters’ money trail had led Australian investigators to Hofman’s son Ray in Canada. They then realized that Australia’s Walters was the same person as Canada’s missing former accountant F.S. Hofman.