GFNZ chases debt from its founder at the High Court

GFNZ Group, the finance company formerly known as Geneva Finance, has asked the High Court at Auckland for a summary judgment against former managing director Glenn Walker for a past due debt.

The application for a fast-tracked judgment was heard today by Justice Mark Woolford, who reserved his decision.

Following the 40-minute hearing, lawyers for both sides refused to disclose or confirm the amount of the loan.

“The loan is matured. It is now owed,” says lawyer Emma Bridget Sweet, an associate with Carter Kirkland Morrison who represented GFNZ Group. “There is no defence to the plaintiff’s claim.”

Mr Walker acknowledges the debt but submitted cross claims, saying he would be bankrupted if forced to pay.

His lawyer Peter Andrew told the court today his client is financially hurting and hoped “somehow this nightmare might disappear”.

The company, which has become a rare survivor of the finance company collapse, went into moratorium in 2007. Mr Walker was the founder and managing director for the company, which owed investors about $130 million.

In November 2008, shareholders rejected Mr Walker to continue as a director; his re-election bid was not supported by the board.

Last year, the company finally repaid the last of its debts relating to the moratorium.

Mr Walker is unemployed. His legal woes have been strewn across the court system with a web of proceedings from the District Court to the Employment Relations Authority to the higher courts.

He has no assets or income, Mr Andrew told the court today. According to a recent Court of Appeal decision, Mr Walker is receiving legal aid.

In December, the Court of Appeal dismissed Mr Walker’s bid to appeal a District Court decision ordering the repayment of another debt. This one to G2 Finance Holding.

In 2007, G2 Finance loaned him $A60,000 to purchase shares in the company. Mr Walker did not purchase the shares directly, but rather through his family trust.

The debt was never paid and, in February 2012, Judge Brooke Gibson at the District Court ordered payment of $NZ111,050, which amounted to the original loan plus interest.

Mr Walker appealed to the High Court and his request was dismissed by Justice Patrick Keane. The Court of Appeal dismissed a further review in December.

After today’s proceedings, lawyers for both sides did not speak to the media, saying they have not received instructions from their clients to do so.

Mr Walker was not at today’s proceedings and has not returned a call from NBR ONLINE.

sflores@nbr.co.nz

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