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Belgrave Finance lawyer Hugh Hamilton convicted on fraud

Belgrave Finance lawyer Hugh Hamilton convicted on fraud charges

May 16 (BusinessDesk) - Belgrave Finance legal adviser Hugh Hamilton, a former mayor of Central Hawke’s Bay, has been convicted of 14 charges over the lender’s 2008 collapse, and faces up to seven years in jail.

In the High Court in Auckland today, Hamilton was found guilty of 14 Crimes Act charges of theft by a person in a special relationship, the Serious Fraud Office and Financial Markets Authority said in a statement. He was acquitted on a further three theft charges, 11 Crimes Act charges of false statement by a promoter, and 11 Companies Act charges of making a false statement to a trustee and three theft charges. The charges related to some $12 million of related party lending between 2005 and 2008.

“Professional advisers play a critical role in ensuring compliance in financial markets,” said FMA head of enforcement Belinda Moffat. “This case shows that advisers who fail in this basic obligation and who are instrumental in enabling their clients to commit financial crimes will be held accountable for their actions.”

Belgrave, which provided finance for property developments from funds raised via debentures and capital notes, was put in receivership in May 2008 owing $22 million to about 1,000 investors. It was placed in liquidation in April 2010.

Hamilton was remanded on bail and will appear for sentencing on July 4.


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