When the unknown Bulgarian insurer Euroins put in a bid for the beleaguered US insurer Tower Group around a year ago, the move was met with incredulity. Along with other industry commentators, then Reactions editor Peter Birks commented at the time that “the ‘bid’ does not make sense on several counts”.
Now we can see why. According to a complaint by the US Securities & Exchange Commission the bid was one of several hoaxes perpetrated by Bulgarian Nedko Nedev. Over the past three years, according the SEC, he has allegedly committed a similar fraud with Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and most recently with Avon Products. Each time, Nedev bought shares just before fake entities filed bogus takeover announcements on the commission’s public filing system, the regulator said.
According to newspaper reports, Nedev earned $23,368 on the Tower Group "offer" which valued the company at more than $200m, or an extraordinary 2x book value. In the end, Euroins bid rang too many alarm bells and Tower agreed a more realistic merger with ACP Re, a reinsurance firm controlled by the founder of AmTrust Financial Services, National General Holdings Corp and Maiden Holdings.