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Tweed threat to sue 93-year-old

SHAREMARKET bottom-feeder David Tweed has threatened a 93-year-old woman with legal action if she does not transfer her $40,000 investment to him for just $12,000.

SHAREMARKET bottom-feeder David Tweed has threatened a 93-year-old woman with legal action if she does not transfer her $40,000 investment to him for just $12,000.

But Grace Croxford's daughter, 74-year-old Patricia Trass, says her mother does not remember signing an agreement to sell her units in Challenger Howard Mortgage Fund to Mr Tweed's company, Direct Share Purchasing Corporation (DSPC).

"It's just totally morally wrong," Ms Trass told BusinessDay.

"Who in their full understanding would sign for 3o cents in the dollar?"

Ms Trass, who has a power of attorney over her mother's financial affairs, said she had taken legal advice and would not be signing a form transferring the investment to DSPC.

While Mr Tweed is best known for offering cents in the dollar for shares in blue-chip companies held by elderly investors, his business has been made more difficult by recent legal changes restricting access to share registers.

He appears to have moved on to the unlisted property fund sector, which has a large number of older investors and contains several funds still frozen after the global financial crisis.

Michael O'Neill, chief executive of advocacy group National Seniors, which represents over-50s, said he would raise Ms Croxford's case with the federal government.

Mr O'Neill sits on the consumer advisory panel of the corporate watchdog, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, and is a member of a group advising Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten on the superannuation system.

"From National Seniors' point of view we're appalled by Tweed's predatory behaviour, and the stress and heartache it has clearly caused this vulnerable 90-something woman, and her daughter," Mr O'Neill said.

"How is he allowed to do it over and again?"

Mr Tweed's lawyer, Michael Anderson of EC Legal, could not be reached by phone or email yesterday.

Ms Croxford appears to have signed a contract to sell her Challenger units to DSPC in November or December.

But after a ruling in the New South Wales Supreme Court in March, Challenger no longer honours such transfers without first checking that investors really want to sell their units.

As a result, EC Legal wrote to Ms Croxford in April at her retirement village home in Miranda, southern Sydney, urging her to authorise the transfer and threatening her with legal action if she did not.

A "final notice prior to commencement of legal action" followed in May.

Acting on her mother's behalf, Ms Trass wrote back to DSPC, denying the contract's validity.

In response, EC Legal again threatened action, but lifted its offer to 50? in the dollar. Ms Trass did not accept the offer, which lapsed on July 4.

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