Family seeks to protect Aussie millionaire’s Cayman property

The daughter of Australian multimillionaire James Bruce Handford has applied to the Cayman Islands Grand Court to request that Mr. Handford’s remaining properties here be placed into receivership at the direction of the court.

James Handford
James Handford

The application, filed March 17 under the local Mental Health Law, seeks for the court to appoint Susan van Dijk, or other person “as the court may see fit,” as receiver. Due to court rules, the Cayman Compass could not publish details of the receivership application until after the end of the criminal proceeding against Mr. Handford’s former girlfriend Michelle Bouchard.

Bouchard, a Canadian national, was sentenced to 12 years in prison this month. A Cayman Islands’ jury convicted her of 25 of 26 criminal charges related to dishonesty and theft in what Crown prosecutors alleged was a scheme that resulted in the theft of nearly CI$1.6 million and about US$830,000 from Mr. Handford between May 2010 and October 2012.

Forefeiture proceedings related to Bouchard are expected to go forward separately in the wake of her conviction.

According to the court application, the receiver’s job would be to report and account to the court regarding Mr. Handford’s local properties, and the receiver would be allowed to obtain legal and financial advice, to be paid for on an indemnity basis from Mr. Handford’s properties.

Court documents state that Mr. Handford, 88, is currently residing in an aged care facility’s dementia ward. According to court testimony in the criminal trial, Ms. van Dijk said Mr. Handford is in good physical health, but does not understand his condition.

Police officers escort Michelle Bouchard to court to hear her sentence after a jury found her guilty on 25 counts. - PHOTO: TANEOS RAMSAY
Police officers escort Michelle Bouchard to court to hear her sentence after a jury found her guilty on 25 counts. – PHOTO: TANEOS RAMSAY

It was stated in court that Mr. Handford bought a condo on Seven Mile Beach in 2007 after selling one of his properties in Australia for $23 million to $24 million.

The specific assets owned by Mr. Handford in Cayman were not set out in court records.

According to the court clerk’s office, a hearing in the matter is set for mid-May.

Attorneys for Ms. van Dijk have asked that proceedings in the case be held in private or that reporting restrictions be put in place by the court.

Ms. van Dijk did not return emails seeking comment on the receivership application.

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