Strategic directors ‘likely’ breached the law – FMA

Six Strategic Finance directors are likely to have breached the Securities Act, the FMA says.

The financial markets regulator has concluded its investigation into Strategic, which went into receivership in March 2010 owing around 11,000 investors $383 million.

The finance company directors included Kerry Finnigan, Graham Edward Jackson, Marcel Aubrey Lindale, Timothy John Rich, Denis Grenville Thom and David John Wolfenden.

The late Jock Hobbs, an ex-All Black captain and a former chairman of the New Zealand Rugby Union, was also a director. The FMA excluded him from investigations in June 2011 due to illness leading to his death last March.

FMA says the apparent breaches relate to statements made in a registered prospectus, investment statement and in an advertisement between March 2008 and August 2008.

The regulator has notified the directors of its findings and has agreed to provide them with an opportunity to respond to FMA’s proposed claim before civil proceedings are filed. The agency has yet to say if any charges will be made.

“FMA’s role as a publicly-funded litigant, acting in the public interest, necessitates this announcement to keep the market and investors informed,” said FMA Head of Enforcement, Belinda Moffat.

Strategic lend large amounts of money to property developers and investors in commercial, industrial and residential property in New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific Islands.

Loans were made through term loans, bridging loans and development and construction loans, in a mixture of first, second and third-ranking facilities.

In August 2008 Strategic placed a trading halt on all its securities and iIn December 2008 went into Moratorium.

In March 2010 Strategic went into receivership.

To date the receivers have distributed to secured debenture investors 10 cents in the dollar. The receivers have launched civil action against Strategic directors and are now engaged in settlement discussions with the directors on a without prejudice and confidential basis in accordance with a formal process.

dbridgeman@nbr.co.nz

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