Crown drops charge against ex-SCF finance chief Graeme Brown
Aug. 6 (BusinessDesk) - The Crown has dropped its one charge of false accounting against former South Canterbury Finance chief financial officer Graeme Brown.
Justice Paul Heath today granted the application to remove Brown’s name from the indictment, according to a statement by Brown’s counsel, Richard Raymond. Brown was one of five people charged by the Serious Fraud Office over the collapse of the Timaru-based lender controlled by the now-deceased Allan Hubbard.
The others include former directors Ed Sullivan and Bob White, former chief executive Lachie McLeod, and former company accountant Terry Hutton, who are set to stand trial next year, and Brown may be called as a witness.
Brown said the last three years of the investigation and the prosecution had a “very profound impact” on his personal and professional life.
“I would expressly like to thank my counsel, Richard Raymond, who has supported and believed in me throughout, together with our forensic investigator, Gib Beattie,” Brown said. “I also thank those people that saw beyond the charge, and continue to believe in me and what I achieved during my tenure at SCF.”
The 21 charges relating to fraud, dating back to between November 2004 and February 2010, and are linked to the $1.58 billion paid out to debenture holders covered by the retail deposit guarantee.
The most serious allegations are against Sullivan and White, whom the Crown asserts "each was a party to the making of deliberately false statements in prospectuses," according to a March judgment setting the trial date. Sullivan, White and McLeod are alleged to have used false financial statements to secure cover in the government's guarantee scheme.