Alex Constantine - April 6, 2008
Michelle Williams' Father Challenges Heath Ledger's Father to Disclose Fortune
Monday, March 24, 2008
The father of Heath Ledger's ex-girlfriend Michelle Williams has challenged the late actor's family to publicly state the value of their son's fortune.
Larry Williams, who is one of the world's best known stock market traders, said he was perplexed that documents filed in a New York court listed Ledger's assets at just $145,000.
Michelle Williams and Ledger have a daughter, 2-year-old Matilda. Larry Williams, the toddler's grandfather, issued the challenge to Ledger's father Kim Ledger through The Sunday Telegraph.
"It's real simple: just come clean with everything,'' he said. "It's so easy to resolve this. He just has to say where the income went and where the assets are.
"I'm certain that there is grieving in the Ledger family but (lawyers for) Kim have already filed papers in New York, so it seems like it's time to be transparent about it. I have no idea what Heath Ledger was worth (but) they certainly haven't stated all of the assets to the court.''
Williams conceded that he did not have a close relationship with his daughter and that he was not in constant contact with her.
Cloudy forecast for futures trader
Share guru Larry Williams denies he is a tax evader
David Nason in New York and Nick Leys
June 03, 2006
STICK to the rules; keep a cool head. It's the Larry Williams mantra. Believe in the system, don't panic when the price starts to fall; in the end it will come good. And if it doesn't? Then tomorrow is another day, another trade.
The futures trader has lived this way for 40 years, but nowhere has it meant as much as the past fortnight in Sydney. Jail will no doubt do that to you, make you introspective and question the things you have always believed.
And the thought of a longer stretch in a cell - a much longer stretch if the US Internal Revenue Service successfully extradites Williams, then prosecutes him for tax evasion - may lead to more introspection still.
Williams, Heath Ledger's father-in-law, loves anecdotes and jokes, and his brief spell in an "exclusive Sydney hotel", as he calls it, affords him both.
"The guy who was in my cell with me said: 'You're that futures guy, I've heard of you. What sort of returns do you get?'," Williams told a seminar on Wednesday night. "I said to him, well, if I buy some stock at $20, then I might sell it for $40 or $60. He looked at me like I was mad and said, 'That's nothing. I can go to Iran and buy a pound of heroin for $200, come back and sell it for $260,000."
The audience, about 50 people who have come to a function room at the Marriott Hotel, Sydney, to hear Williams speak, lap it up. They laugh hard at the Martha Stewart jokes, the exclusive hotel and the bail conditions that have kept the marathon runner from jogging on Bondi beach. Williams is less Gordon Gekko, more the high school maths teacher who is liked by students and parents. He's charismatic in a folksy way, neat but not pretentious.
His audience includes many who have seen him before, who have paid to hear him and own all his books and DVDs. Others are people who know nothing about trading but are interested in making a buck. Mums and dads, university students, suits and tracksuits.
"Jail changed my view of a lot of things," he tells them. "I learned a lot and I saw parts of Sydney most tourists don't see. I don't know what's going on with my life right now, it's in the hands of lawyers. I could be in Sydney for a few months. I don't know how long I'll be here."
Williams has some involvement with law enforcement agencies, most notably in the US Virgin Islands where the 64-year-old trader has lived since mid-2003 and where he is a respected citizen.
Take the sunny Caribbean day last year when the local police commissioner paid tribute. "It is a day filled with pride to have corporate citizens extend a helpful hand to the motoring public and citizens of the Virgin Islands," commissioner Elton Lewis said.
Williams must have struggled to suppress a chuckle. The price of praise from the island's top cop was no more than one of those little machines that can laminate a driver's licence.
Williams stringently denies any involvement in tax avoidance schemes of any sort and assistant US attorney John Owens, who countersigned the indictment that led to Williams's arrest at Sydney airport on May 20 on three counts of tax evasion, doesn't reject this claim. "I can't comment on any link with the Virgin Islands," Owens says.
"All I can say is that certain foreign entities can assert they don't owe any taxes here in the US. We certainly disagree with the basis he [Williams] asserted."
Williams's home is a luxury villa in StCroix's hillside suburb of Green Cay, where most residents have servants, swimming pools and fine views of the marina and its expensive yachts. For a while at least he was an active participant in local activities, finishing third in a seniors' half marathon.
Williams's fiancee Louise Stapleton told Sydney Central Local Court last week she would sell their island home to help pay his bail. He also lists residences in South Africa, but for the time being will have to live in Sydney and report to police twice a day.
Williams gained prominence as a sharemarket oracle in 1982 with a best-selling book titled How to Prosper in the Coming Good Years. It accurately forecast the largest bull market in US history when many pundits were tipping a slowdown in economic growth.
It followed his successful debut book, How I Made a Million Dollars Trading Commodities, and a book on seasonality in commodities, an area he has made his specialty.
But Williams achieved guru status in 1987 when he turned $US10,000 of his own money into more than $US1.1 million during the Robbins World Cup Trading Championship, an international sharemarket gambling game played through 12 months. The 11,376 per cent return on investment remains a result 10 times better than any other winner in the history of the competition, although just as revealing is that Williams was ahead more than $US2million before a losing streak shaved nearly $US1million from his winnings.
Williams's trading methods gained a further boost 10 years later when his daughter Michelle, then just 16, used his strategies to win the same competition, earning a 1000 per cent return on her $US10,000 bank.
He is best known for his seasonal trading strategies in commodities and for using 10-year price patterns to determine the best times to enter and leave the market. But his trading methods are many and varied and have been reported in numerous trading and investment magazines as well as mainstream business media such as The Wall Street Journal, Forbes and Fortune.
Controversy, however, has never been far away. Between 1986 and 1988 Williams managed a large investment fund and was caught in the October 1987 crash. Many investors lost money and some sued, most notably Susan B. Kringle, who alleged Williams owed her $US63 million.
"I lost money for investors, no doubt about that," Williams later admitted. "People were not blown out, though. As I recall, the worst damage done was about a 40 per cent decline in a few of the individual trading accounts."
At about the same time the National Futures Association investigated Williams for, among other things, deceptive disclosure documents and deceptive and unbalanced promotional material. Williams said the charges were politically motivated, arising after he had beaten a "hand-picked boy" for election to the NFA board. In the end, Williams agreed to pay a $US12,000 fine while not admitting any guilt.
"In light of the hundreds of thousands of dollars the NFA has fined other people, notably brokers and trading advisers, this was not even a slap on the wrist," he said.
There were further claims, never substantiated, that Williams had somehow rorted the Robbins competition by running two accounts. Williams claims he gives investment seminars and writes books because it's profitable. "I never know as a trader when I will make money," he once said. "It may be this month or maybe a few months from now, it's an unknown. Seminars and such amount to steady income."
May 23, 2006. 5:19pm (AEST)
Market guru Williams granted $1m bail
A Sydney court has granted bail on $1 million surety to a stock market expert who is facing tax evasion charges in the United States.
Larry Williams was arrested on a extradition warrant at Sydney airport on Saturday, as he arrived for a speaking tour.
The father of actress Michelle Williams has been in custody since then, but was granted strict conditional bail in Sydney's Central Local Court today.
The 64-year-old has been ordered to stay in the Sydney CBD, to report to police three times a day and to surrender his passport.
Williams' lawyer, Chris Watson, says the $1 million in cash and security, which is also required, is being gathered.
"Well I'm very happy that my client has been granted bail and I'll be very happy if he can make the bail," he said.
"It's a very difficult bail, but hopefully he's got a lot of support and a lot of people who believe in him, so I think we'll probably get him bail by tomorrow."
US stock market trader loses Australian court battle against extradition
The Associated Press
Thursday, August 2, 2007
SYDNEY, Australia: Hollywood actress Michelle Williams' father, a prominent stock market trader, lost a court appeal Friday against a second U.S. attempt to extradite him on tax evasion charges.
Three Federal Court judges dismissed the attempt by 64-year-old Larry Williams to stop the United States and New South Wales state courts from taking steps to extradite him.
A Sydney magistrate is now free to consider the U.S. extradition request. A hearing date is not yet set.
Williams, a resident of the Virgin Islands, had a victory in March when the Federal Court dismissed the initial U.S. extradition application because it did not provide Australia with enough detail of what offenses had been committed.
Australian police, responding to a request from U.S. authorities, arrested Williams in May last year after he flew into Sydney to begin a monthlong speaking tour in Australia and New Zealand. He has been free in Sydney on 1 million Australian dollars (US$857,000; 626,000) bail.
He is wanted by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service on charges of willfully attempting to evade $US1.5 million (1.2 million) in taxes from 1990 to 2001.
His 26-year-old daughter received an Oscar nomination as best supporting actress for her performance in the 2005 film "Brokeback Mountain," playing the wife of Heath Ledger's character.
Ledger is her real life partner and father of her daughter, Matilda.