hired gatto hits

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    Gatto hits trail to find lost Opes money
    Tuesday Apr 8 14:07 AEST
    Former Melbourne underworld identity Mick Gatto says his methods of recovering creditors' money following the collapse of Opes Prime will be more successful than a class action now underway.

    The crane company owner, who also works in industrial mediation, flew out of Australia Tuesday bound for Singapore to hunt down more than $1 billion worth of assets a group believes are hidden inside the failed stockbroker.

    Mr Gatto - who was acquitted of the 2004 shooting murder of hitman Andrew Veniamin on the grounds of self defence - said he had been approached by a group of friends and investors who had lost millions in the collapse.

    Underbelly to be shown around the world
    He added his efforts to find the missing money would be more efficient and successful than a class action being spearheaded by law firm Slater and Gordon.

    "All I can say is ... the more that jump on board, the stronger it'll be because, we'll only get one crack at this," he told ABC Radio.

    "History shows that if you leave it to the lawyers and the receivers, they stretch it out for years and the investors get nothing.

    "Our motive is to try and fast track all that and get as much as we can back for the investors and it'll be a win-win for everyone."

    Receivers and managers were appointed to the Opes Prime group on March 27 after cash and stock movement irregularities were uncovered in some client accounts.

    Mr Gatto was playing his cards close to his chest but added no violence would be used in the effort to recover lost money or assets.

    "We've got leads that we're following at the moment, but it's all confidential and I can't really say because everyone else will jump on board but we're one step ahead of the posse," he said.

    "We can't divulge our methods, otherwise everyone else will be doing it, but we get the result - put it that way.

    "We never use violence. It's always done amicably, there's no evidence that I've ever used violence ... we fix sticky problems and people come to me with all sorts of problems, they have for many years.

    "We've got results for lots of people and people keep coming to me ... I'm quite happy with that."

    Creditors met in Melbourne on Tuesday to hear whether they would be able to recover any of their money.

    Ken Fowlie, a director at Slater and Gordon, said the lawsuit was the best option for creditors seeking to recover their losses.

    "I think Mr Gatto might have talked about his track record, but we've got a pretty proud track record ourselves," Mr Fowlie said.

    "The situation with Opes Prime is obviously a terrible situation. A lot of people have lost money and unfortunately my experience of these things (is) there are no quick fixes to it."

    ©AAP 2008
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