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Rates round-up: March 5

Guilty plea in SCF fraud case; Bridgecorp's Roest in the dock; ANZ launches bond issue

Monday, 5 March 2012

by Niko Kloeten

A man has admitted ripping off South Canterbury Finance for $23 million to fund a ponzi scheme he used to maintain a lavish lifestyle.

Former DataSouth Finance director Gavin Bennett last week pleaded guilty to six charges of dishonestly using documents, and two charges of false accounting.

The charges were laid by the Serious Fraud Office, which detailed Bennett's extravagant spending habits, including payments of more than $1 million to a number of "female companions".

Bennett also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on international travel, luxury apartments in The Rocks, Sydney and items from Louis Vuitton, Cartier and Chanel.

For six years a ran a ponzi scheme racking nearly 900 false transactions, creating false leases on IT hardware to get financing from SCF.

Crown prosecutor Catherine Butchard said that to cover up the offending, Bennett would make scheduled repayments on false leases using funds obtained from subsequent false leases, "in a manner similar to a Ponzi scheme".

In the Christchurch District Court last week, Judge Oke Blaikie refused Bennett bail due to the "magnitude" of his offending, remanding him in custody until his sentencing on May 3.

Roest says Petricevic knew about missed payments

Former Bridgecorp financial controller Robert Roest has given conflicting evidence to that of the failed finance company's former managing director Rod Petricevic.

The two are on trial in the High Court at Auckland alongside fellow former Bridgecorp director Peter Steigrad, accused of making false statements in company offer documents.

Petricevic and Roest face additional charges over allegedly making false statements that Briggecorp had never missed payments to investors.

Under cross-examination last week, Roest said a payment to investors of $206,000 due on February 7 2007 was "delayed", and he informed Petricevic and fellow director Gary Urwin, who has pleaded guilty to the charges and is due to be sentenced in April.

However, Petricevic has maintained throughout the trial that he did not know of the late payments to investors, saying he didn't find out until he read about them in a newspaper.

Roest also said he didn't know why the payment was delayed because "the money was in the bank".

ANZ launches bond issue

ANZ has launched a seven-year bond issue and is hoping to attract $250 million.

The seven-year unsecured, unsubordinated bond issue has a minimum investment of $10,000 and will pay either a minimum of 6.25%, or an issue margin of 2.10% plus the seven-year swap rate on March 9 when the date is set.

A recent BNZ seven-year bond issue raised $200 million for the bank at 6.10%.

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