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SFO lines up more charges for Bridgecorp's Petricevic and Roest

The Serious Fraud Office has lined up two more charges for failed financier Bridgecorp's directors Rod Petricevic and Rob Roest, taking the total value of alleged fraud by the pair to $5.2 million.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

SFO director Adam Feely, who joined the white collar crime investigator in November, said the charges relate to Petricevic's "allegedly fraudulent acquisition" of a luxury boat using $1.8 million of Bridgecorp, and some $1.2 million of "allegedly dishonest payments" authorised by Petricevic to a business operated by a personal acquaintance of his.  

"There have been extensive and exhaustive investigations into the failure of Bridgecorp, and these final charges effectively bring all those inquiries to a conclusion," Feely said in a statement.

The SFO decided that its investigations into alleged fraud with related parties "can be addressed by action already commenced by other agencies, and the Crown may consider revising the charges which have already been laid in respect of those matters."  

Receivers for the bevy Bridgecorp companies, Colin McCloy and Maurice Noone of PricewaterhouseCoopers, expect the 14,000 investors owed $459 million will only get some 10 cents in the dollar back from the failed finance company. 

The problem Momi property development in Fiji makes up more than $100 million of the shortfall. The receivers have recouped $23.4 million as at Jan. 1.  

The SFO's Feely said the Bridgecorp investigation was critical to the organisation's wider focus on finance companies due to the "incorrect" perception that all of the lenders' failures were caused by fraud.  

"In order for the public to have confidence in our financial markets, it is important that we act where there is evidence of criminal offending, and that we close cases where no evidence, or insufficient evidence, exists," he said.  The SFO is still investigating Five Star Group, Nathans Finance and Capital + Merchant.

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