As we join Bob Lindquist in celebrating his 50 years in forensic financial investigations, let’s take a look back at his illustrious and storied career. It is one that has been filled with great successes, rewarding experiences and lessons learned along the way.
It Started with a Challenge
In January 1972, an audit partner at what is now Deloitte challenged Bob to decide whether he wanted to drive rally cars or be a professional auditor. Fun fact: he had won the Ontario Rally Championship the year before! Fast forward to February 1972, and Bob joined their insolvency group with the task to proof-read their draft report on the collapse of a mob-styled bank in Toronto that had captured the public’s attention. Bob was struck with its intrigue even though at the time he had no idea that financial investigations would become his career and forensic accounting, his profession. Read more here.
In the early 1970’s, all auditors were auditing, and this allowed Bob to learn from both his good and bad experiences, especially the process of surviving cross-examination. Working with the prosecution taught him how to conduct an investigation and an interview, as well as how to write unbiased memos and reports. Most importantly, Bob learned the key element to any investigation: how to use discernment to find the truth.
Lessons Learned and Advice for the Next Generation
- Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil et al vs. U.S. Fidelity et al, 2000 – Ipanema Beach beckons, but you must dig until all is found out.
- Regina vs. Steele/Waddilove, 1976 – Be selective and do not become personally involved with a client’s case.
- Regina vs. Parks, 1974 – Avoid the use of any descriptive words and to state specifically only the information on the face of the documents. Why? Descriptive words are subjective and reflect bias, the number one enemy for an expert witness.
- IBM, Poughkeepsie, New York, Roger was Too Busy to Chat, 1993 – There are several issues to be addressed by the forensic accountant in a live internal investigation: ‘purity of the company,’ the ‘con versus con’ interview approach, a belief that the human element is at least as important as the accounting for numbers and most importantly among the employees, the forensic accountant must establish credibility otherwise voluntary information may not be forthcoming.
- London Life and The Anonymous Letter, 1986 –
- The forensic accountant has a crucial obligation to maintain the purity of a corporation or any operating division while conducting an investigation.
- It is imperative to limit the number of people who need to know the allegations.
- The forensic accountant must probe carefully and create the basis in a timely manner for an eventual meeting with the person who is the subject of the allegations.
- The time frame for the initial assessment is usually measured in days.
Cases that Left an Impact
One of Bob’s most complex cases involved Dormant Bank Accounts of Victims of the Holocaust, Switzerland, a search for the assets for the victims of the Holocaust in 1996-1998. For the forensic accountant, the human element is at least as important as the accounting for numbers. In this case of such historical tragedy, the human element could never (and we hope) ever be as significant. For Bob, a unique time (1½ years based in Basel) forever remembered, particularly brought home when you interview former management now in their eighties to experience their emotional recollection of the Holocaust.
Another case that was perhaps Bob’s most frustrating was Government of Romania vs. former President Nicolai Ceausescu in 1990. He was hired to assist the new government through the Minister of Justice to find the assets of Ceausescu following the summary trial and swift execution of Nicolai Ceausescu and his wife, Elena. Assets were located in Cyprus but despite the promise of the Minister of Justice, the government never commenced legal proceedings as they walked into the shoes of Ceausescu.
A Sample of 50 Years Worth of Career Highlights
Supreme Court of Ontario and Case Precedent
In January 1974, the Park’s case gave Bob the opportunity to sit with Crown Counsel Rod McLeod at the table through a jury trial. The presiding Judge Garth Moore ruled the accounting schedules admissible given what he described as the “veritable blizzard of documents”. As a result of this case ruling and others, in May 1978, the precedent for the admissibility of accounting schedules was recognized by the Supreme Court of Ontario based solely upon Bob’s cases.
International Investigations that Result in Financial Recovery
Bob enjoys the cultural challenge of international financial investigations. He has conducted many high profile investigations on behalf of corporations and governments in the United States, Antigua, Austria, Brazil, BVI, Canada, Chile, Grenada, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Isle of Man, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Jersey, Netherlands, Malawi, Trinidad, Romania, St. Lucia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
- Government of Trinidad vs. Minister Johnny O Halloran, Mr. 10% – In the fall of 1988, Bob met Attorney General Selwyn Richardson in Port-of-Spain to determine if there was any merit to support the numerous allegations of bribery. This was the first time that a foreign country had successfully sued a U.S. company for bribery and made a recovery of US$7 million.
- Government of Antigua vs. Lester Bird et al in the ‘IHI’ Matter – In May 2004, the Attorney General retained Bob to investigate allegations of corruption regarding the former Bird government. In February 2009, the Attorney General issued a statement advising of the recovery of U.S. $12 million from the Rappaport family in Switzerland.
- Lisa Armoyan, Petitioner/Wife and Vrege Armoyan, Respondent/Husband – Bob conducted a search for the assets of the husband subsequent to the “Armoyan Final Judgment” that was in the amount of some $18 million. The asset search investigation delved into public and private companies of an international nature covering several years and resulted in a recovery of $13 million.
Sequor Law is proud to have supported Bob throughout his career and we look forward to seeing all that he continues to accomplish and teach others. If you’d like to learn even more about Bob, visit his bio on our website here.