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Former bank manager held for ransom by kidnappers?

Case rife with rumours

Tags: Masee Case Investigation

VANCOUVER, B.C. - Vancouverites are baffled by the mysterious disappearance of 55-year-old former high-profile Bank of Montreal banker Nick Masee and his wife Lisa (39). On August 10, Masee was to meet someone who reportedly wanted to invest in his publicly traded company Turbodyne Technologies Inc. but no one made it to the restaurant where they had planned to meet. A week later, Masee's house was found to be left unlocked with a car inside the carport and no trace of the couple who was known for meticulously keeping appointments. The RCMP is investigating the disappearance of the couple.

Nicholaas Gerard Jacques Masee who immigrated from Purmerend, the Netherlands, to Halifax, Nova Scotia, 37 years ago, left the Bank of Montreal with 35 years of experience (in Halifax, Montreal and Vancouver) earlier this year to concentrate on operating Turbodyne which is 'developing a power booster system for diesel engines to cut smoke emissions,' according to Gerry Bellett in the Vancouver Sun. Turbodyne is a company operated by people who previously were associated with long-time stock promoter Harry Moll who was involved with a string of public firms (Vancouver Stock Exchange, VSE) which all lost large amounts of money.


As manager of the bank's private banking centre, Masee at social functions liked to introduce millionaire customers to new acquaintances, and inadvertently gave accountant Fred Hofman, a fugitive since April 1991, a few 'customers' that way. Among the victims who lost large amounts to Hofman were people from the wider community who were introduced to him by Masee although Hofman did not have an account at Masee's branch. Hofman eventually left a mountain of debt, totaling tens of millions of dollars.

Rumours within Vancouver's notorious stock market community suggest anything from Masee having temporarily disappeared to avoid a debt to being held as a pawn by people trying to collect a debt from a third party - supposedly a well-known former customer. It is also said that a fund raising campaign is being planned to buy Masee's freedom back. A worse rumour is that Masee has met with foul play.

During his career with the bank, Masee rose from being a clerk to a senior banker who cherished rubbing shoulders with numerous well-known personalities, be they business leaders, politicians or the city's 'high rollers.'

Within the (Dutch) business community, Masee's disappearance has created alot of anxiety and concern. A former customer of Masee from the days he was a regular bank manager, observed that he was outgoing and a very helpful person in one way but that as a banker Masee would stick to the rules. 'Many people have a weak spot for Nick,' he said, 'you always would get his help if he could give it.'

A former president of the Netherlands Businessmen's Association, Masee served the Dutch community in various ways and several times acted as master of ceremonies at the annual Sinterklaas Welcome at New Westminster. Masee also was involved in a number of organizations in the broader community. The North Vancouver RCM Police detachment has assigned two officers to the Masee case. Masee's son Nick Jr. who works in Asia has returned to Vancouver to be near family and friends. According to a report in the Vancouver Sun, Masee is investigating the disappearance of his father.