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Joint investigation results in charges


Media Release

5 September 2013

Joint investigation results in charges for Strategic Planning Group

Following a joint investigation into the activities of Auckland based company Strategic Planning Group Limited (SPG), the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) have laid charges against former financial adviser Andrew Hrothgar Robinson (40).

Mr Robinson was a director of Strategic Planning Group Limited (SPG) and is a current director of SPG Investment Company No.1 Limited (SPGI).

Mr Robinson appeared in the Auckland District Court today to face five charges laid by SFO under the Crimes Act of theft by person in a special relationship and one charge of dishonestly using a document.

It is alleged that Mr Robinson stole investor funds of approximately $3 million to repay the investments of other investors and to pay for some business and personal expenses between 2010 and 2012. It is further alleged Mr Robinson made false statements in various investment reports to hide the true picture from investors.

FMA has laid one charge against Mr Robinson under the Financial Service Providers Act for providing a broking service without being registered, and one charge of knowingly making a false statement in his application to become an Authorised Financial Adviser (AFA) under the Financial Advisers Act.

FMA has laid additional charges against Mr Robinson and a co-director of SPGI, Mark Andrew Turnock. They each face two charges under the Financial Reporting Act of making false statements in the SPGI financial documents. SFO has not laid charges against Mr Turnock.

The investigation into SPG and SPGI began in December 2012 when FMA received a complaint with allegations about Mr Robinson’s management of client funds through SPG. FMA took immediate action to preserve investors’ funds by requesting that the bank accounts of Mr Robinson and SPG be frozen. Mr Robinson’s status as an AFA was terminated in December 2012.

FMA subsequently referred certain aspects of their investigation to SFO.

“Public confidence in the financial adviser regime relies on advisers complying with their regulatory obligations and FMA will take appropriate action where it is alleged this is not occurring,” said FMA Head of Enforcement, Belinda Moffat.

“It is critical that members of the public have available to them accurate financial statements when making informed investment decisions. Directors have an obligation to ensure that financial statements are not false or misleading,” said Ms Moffat.

SFO Acting Director, Graham Gill added, “The joint efforts of SFO and FMA have progressed this investigation effectively and efficiently. This demonstrates our commitment to working together to deliver a coordinated response to financial crime in New Zealand’s investment markets.”

The defendants’ next appearance is scheduled for 26 September.

ENDS

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