Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


Hotchin, Watson didn’t commit fraud at Hanover, SFO finds

Hotchin, Watson didn’t commit fraud at Hanover, SFO concludes

By Paul McBeth

April 30 (BusinessDesk) - The Serious Fraud Office won't lay charges against any of Hanover Finance's directors or owners including Mark Hotchin and Eric Watson, saying it's exhausted all avenues of investigation and found nothing to meet its threshold to pursue a prosecution.

Acting chief executive Simon McArley said there were serious questions over Hanover's behaviour, including how it disclosed its financial position to investors from late 2007, its solvency at times when dividends were paid up to the 2008 moratorium, the propriety of transactions in the lead-up to the freezing of payments to investors and the accuracy of how the company's assets were valued.

Still, those questions didn't meet the bar for the white collar crime investigator to proceed with a case that could prove beyond reasonable doubt that an offence had been committed, he said.

"While many may view the conduct at Hanover Finance as egregious, that alone is not sufficient for me to commence a prosecution," McArley said. "We have now exhausted every available avenue of enquiry and the time has come to move on and focus our resources elsewhere."

The decision is the second time the SFO has had to give up pursuing a high-profile case, having decided the failed property investor Blue Chip group could be seen as operating in a "moral vacuum" but didn’t cross the threshold for a criminal prosecution.

Hanover Finance froze $554 million of funds for its 17,000 investors after running into financial difficulties before convincing them to accept a disastrous deal where their debt was swapped for equity in Allied Farmers.

The SFO spent 32 months investigating Hanover in what it says as the "Most extensive and challenging of the finance company investigations."

McArley said he consulted with crown solicitors, leading criminal Queen's Counsel and the deputy Solicitor-General in making his decision not to go ahead with the prosecution.

"The vast majority of the information we have accumulated has already been shared with the FMA (Financial Markets Authority), but if there is any additional material we can provide to assist we will do so," he said.

The FMA is pursuing the former Hanover directors and promoters in a civil suit over the period between December 2007 and July 2008 when $35 million was deposited with the failed lender, and the SFO will provide information and evidence to assist that claim.

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Future Brighter Money: RBNZ Releases New Bank Note Designs

New Zealand’s banknotes are getting brighter and better, with the Reserve Bank today unveiling more vibrant and secure banknote designs which will progressively enter circulation later next year. More>>

ALSO:

Commerce: Supermarket Inquiry Finds No Breaches By Countdown

The Commerce Commission inquiry into anti-competitive behaviour by Countdown supermarkets, alleged by former Labour Party MP Shane Jones, has found nothing to warrant prosecution, although it warns supermarkets to take care in the way they communicate... More>>

ALSO:

Crown Accounts: English Flags ‘Challenge’ To Budget Surplus

Finance Minister Bill English is warning next month’s half yearly fiscal and economic update from the Treasury may not forecast a budget surplus, saying that returning the government’s accounts to surplus in 2015 will be “a challenge”, given the decline in commodity prices and weak global inflation. More>>

ALSO:

March 2015: Netflix To Launch In Australia And New Zealand

World’s Leading Internet Television Network to Offer Original Series, Movies, Documentaries, Stand-Up Comedy Specials and TV Shows for Low Monthly Price More>>

ALSO:

Price Of Cheese (Is Up): Dairy Product Prices Fall To Five-Year Low

Dairy product prices fell in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction to the lowest level in more than five years, led by declines in rennet casein and skim milk powder. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Australians Scoring Trade Points Against Us With The Chinese

It hasn’t been a great year for Trade Minister Tim Groser... To top it off, Australia has just signed a FTA with China that has far better provisions on dairy exports than what New Zealand currently enjoys in our own FTA with China. More>>

ALSO:

Iwi & Local Consultation: Oil And Gas Block Offer 2015 Begins

Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges today announced the start of the Block Offer 2015 process for awarding oil and gas exploration permits. More>>

Industrial Action: Stats NZ Throwing Public Money Away Duplicating Data

The Public Service Association (PSA) says Statistics NZ are throwing money away by collecting the same data twice for official statistics such as the Consumer Price Index... As part of the ongoing industrial action, field interviewers who are PSA members are continuing to collect data, but are not sending it through to Statistics NZ. More>>

ALSO:

Other Stats:

Space: Rosetta's 'Philae' Makes Historic First Landing On A Comet

After more than a decade traveling through space, a robotic lander built by the European Space Agency has made the first-ever soft landing of a spacecraft on a comet. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news