Former Silverado Banking, Savings & Loan borrower Bill L. Walters denied accusations Friday in a Santa Ana federal hearing that he deposited $20 million in a British offshore bank before filing for bankruptcy in November.
Walters, a former Denver developer who defaulted on about $100 million in loans from the failed Denver thrift, called the accusations by a Denver socialite "false."
Virginia Dalton, a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. attorney, asked Walters why socialite Elisabeth Dick would have claimed during a divorce proceeding last year that her husband, John, had helped Walters put away $20 million on the Isle of Jersey, a British island known as a tax haven.
"I wouldn't pretend to know why she does anything," Walters said.
Walters is a former business partner of President Bush's son, Neil, a former Silverado director. Neil Bush is a subject of a federal inquiry into possible conflicts of interest for approving loans to Walters and another developer.
Federal regulators have said bad loans made to Walters contributed to the failure of Silverado, which is expected to cost taxpayers more than $1 billion.
For nearly two hours, Dalton asked Walters one question after another about his trips abroad, including two excursions to the British island to see John Dick.
"John Dick wanted me to see the manor house," Walters said. "He had just finished decorating it. I just went over there to look around."
Attorneys for Dick have denied his wife's accusations, saying he never deposited any of Walters' money anywhere.
Dick's business dealings in the Isle of Jersey are part of a Resolution Trust Corp. investigation into the funneling of savings and loan accounts to offshore banks. Neither man has been charged with any wrongdoing.
Friday's hearing marked Walters' first public comments about his financial situation since he told Congress last June that he was destitute. A month later, it was disclosed that he was dividing his time between a $1.9-million Newport Beach estate, a $1-million desert retreat near Palm Springs and a $250,000 mobile home on prime oceanfront property in Laguna Beach. Records indicate that all the properties are in the name of his wife, Jacqueline Walters.
Federal bankruptcy trustee R. Neil Rodgers has accused Walters in a lawsuit of hiding assets from creditors by transferring ownership of six automobiles and more than $6 million in real estate to wife. But Walters said Friday that he transferred all of his property and assets to her after they were married in November, 1986, as part of a prenuptial agreement.
Walters, who told Congress he was once worth $100 million, owes creditors $279 million.
For nearly six hours, Walters answered hundreds of questions ranging from his foreign travel to the type of material from which his three golf bags are made.
But Walters maintained that he is broke.
"To the best of my knowledge, I have no household goods, supplies and furnishings," Walters said. "Pursuant to a prenuptial agreement I entered into, all of those were given to my wife."
Walters said he has $200 cash, about $1,000 worth of clothing--although he testified that he has 15 suits and a dozen pairs of shoes in his closet--and $500 in jewelry.
Two Rolex watches were recently turned over to Rodgers, including one costing $6,500 that was a Christmas present from his wife a few years back. Walters said he had started wearing a Timex after he went bankrupt but that it stopped working Thursday.
Walters said he transferred about $4.5 million in cash to Jacqueline over a little more than a year, beginning around January, 1987. He has said this was done to honor commitments he made in his prenuptial agreement.