An investor determined to keep his name secret has held up a decision on whether liquidators can clawback nearly $1 million from David Ross' Ponzi scheme.

The investor withdrew $954,000 the year before Ross Asset Management (Ram) was raided and the business' assets frozen.

Today's hearing in the Court of Appeal was one of the tests cases where liquidators of Ram were trying to get claw back $3.8m from investors.

The investor's lawyer Justin Smith, QC, told the Court of Appeal his client was in a unique position.


Smith said there was no suggestion his client was guilty of wrongdoing but some people might the wrong idea if the investor's name was published.

He said "vitriolic utterances" from some investors would be directed at his client if name suppression was lifted.

Smith said his client was in debt and had spent a lot of money on establishing a new business, complicating his situation.

The investor was worried publication of his name would lead some people he did business with to believe the legal wrangles were a distraction and be more reluctant to deal with him.

Smith said the investor "would never reasonably have been expected" to be subjected to public scrutiny and had no idea of the Ponzi scheme at work.

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Several details pertinent to the name suppression case were suppressed, because these details would identify the investor.

"This town is a village," Justice Forrest Miller told the court.


Justice Rhys Harrison told Smith that with all such financial collapses, there were "high levels of emotions" involved but he was not wholly persuaded ongoing name suppression was appropriate.

He said many public figures and professionals had been victims of fraud and were not compelled to seek name suppression.

"These are just the slings and arrows of public life," Justice Harrison said. "You've just got to get over it and move on."

This town is a village.

The judge did not seem convinced publication of the investor's name would permanently inconvenience the investor.

"It all goes in a day. And in the end, it's fish 'n chip paper tomorrow."

But Smith said his client was especially "vulnerable" and had effectively been dragged "kicking and screaming" into the spotlight.

Jennifer Stevens, lawyer for liquidators John Howard Ross Fisk, said there were concerns from a "large group of investors" about what they perceived to be "something of a cover-up."

The liquidators' had changed their minds about consenting to the investor's name suppression bid.

The argument in favour of clawback was that investors who received money in the period before Ram's 2012 collapse would get more than their entitlement in a liquidation.

The investor withdrew his funds in 2011. It was later discovered Ross was running a Ponzi scheme and reporting false profits to investors of $351 million.

Ross was now serving a 10 year, 10 month jail sentence - the longest ever given to someone in a Serious Fraud Office case.

Any money that liquidators clawed back would improve the return for about 1200 investors, who lost $100-$115m in Ross' fraudulent scheme.

The judges reserved their decision today.