Fraud charges laid against Capital + Merchant directors
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has laid 11 charges under the Crimes Act against two current and one former director of Capital + Merchant Finance Limited (C+M).
Wednesday, 13 July 2011
The charges relate to transactions involving just over $28 million that occurred between 2004 and 2006.
The SFO alleges that these transactions were entered into in breach of the restrictions contained in the company's trust deed, and resulted in trusts controlled by the accused receiving benefits totalling approximately $15.9 million.
The three accused are Neal Medhurst Nicholls (55), Wayne Leslie Douglas (57) and Owen Francis Tallentire (64).
At the time C+M was placed into receivership the company owed over $165 million to approximately 7,000 investors.
The SFO commenced its investigation into C+M in March 2010 following a complaint from C+M receivers, Grant Thornton.
Initial charges were laid against Nicholls and Douglas under sections 220 and 242 of the Crimes Act in December 2010. The charges relate to the alleged non-disclosure of related party lending totalling approximately $14.5 million, to a Palmerston North development known as ‘The Hub Properties'.
Nicholls and Douglas will appear for trial in February 2012 in relation to these charges.
The SFO has laid Crimes Act charges against persons involved with several finance companies, including National Finance; Bridgecorp; Five Star Finance; and Capital + Merchant.
SFo acting director Simon McArley said that every investigation into a finance company that the SFO concludes enables more resource to be allocated to its remaining cases.
"It is important that the public understand the scale of resources allocated to the finance company failures, and the commitment the of the SFO investigative teams to concluding them."
He said that the SFO's additional funding for 2011/12 would not only help it conclude the remaining four finance company investigations as a priority, but would also ensure that the SFO was in a position to support other agencies with new investigations in the coming financial year.
The accused have been summonsed to make their first appearance in relation to these charges on August 5 at the District Court in Auckland.
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