SFO lays 90 fraud charges in LWR collapse
The Serious Fraud Office has laid 90 charges after an investigation into the collapse of Canterbury clothing manufacturer, Lane Walker Rudkin Industries (LWR).
LWR director Kenneth James Anderson (64) faces 61 charges under the Crimes Act.
These relate to allegations he fabricated financial documents in order to obtain and retain lending facilities from Westpac New Zealand Limited (Westpac), ultimately totalling $118 million.
He also faces a further 21 charges relating to the alleged use of fabricated documentation to obtain funds under a letter of credit facility provided by Westpac.
Another person, who has name suppression, faces eight charges in relation to the letter of credit facility.
SFO acting director Simon McArley said, “The fraud alleged to have occurred here has had a profound effect on the region, with LWR having employed many staff and enjoyed an international reputation.
“While its demise is unfortunate for the Canterbury people, upholding the integrity and credibility of New Zealand businesses is essential for our future success.”
LWR was incorporated in 2001 and placed into receivership in April 2009.
The SFO’s investigation began in September 2009 following concerns raised by the company’s receivers, BDO Spicers.
Mr McArley said that, although the investigation had experienced a number of delays due to the Canterbury earthquakes, the scale of losses and high level of public interest demanded perseverance with the case.
“We will never let speed compromise the quality or thoroughness of an investigation, particularly in a case such as this which has enormous local interest,” Mr McArley said.