Ronald Bobroff. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL
Ronald Bobroff. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL

FUGITIVE personal injury lawyer Ronald Bobroff and his son Darren might have escaped the Hawks by fleeing to Australia earlier this week but they could still be extradited to SA should the governments of the two countries agree to do so.

The pair skipped the country ahead of handing themselves over to the Hawks after selling their law firm to a Johannesburg attorney.

Wife of Ronald and mother of Darren, Elaine Bobroff, was arrested reportedly while also attempting to leave the country.

She appeared in the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crime Court on Tuesday and was released on R50,000 bail.

Hawks spokesman Robert Netshiunda confirmed that Ms Bobroff was arrested and appeared in court on charges of fraud and money laundering but refused to discuss the substance of the case including the possible source of the tip-off that led to the Bobroffs fleeing to escape arrest.

Law professor Shadrack Gutto, the director of the Centre for African Renaissance Studies at the University of SA, said had the Bobroffs been charged in SA, an Australian court would have to be presented with the details of the case against them.

Should it be decided that the prospects of success were good, it would fall to the Australian executive authority to sign an extradition order.

"Certainly a crime of fraud involving millions of rands could warrant an application for extradition because it is a serious offence," said Prof Gutto, adding that ordinary theft or petty crime would not warrant an extradition bid because of the costs involved.

The Bobroffs recently appeared in the High Court in Pretoria when the Law Society of the Northern Provinces applied to have them struck from the roll for overcharging accident victims who had won awards from the Road Accident Fund (RAF).

RAF spokeswoman Thandeka Ngwenya said the investigation into the Bobroffs dated back to 2011 when the fund received numerous complaints from claimants.

Personal injury lawyers are allowed to charge 30% of any award paid out by the RAF but the Bobroffs were allegedly charging 40%. The complaints are now part of the Hawks investigation.

Ms Ngwenya said the RAF had identified suspected fraud cases amounting to more than R170m in 2014-15.