Five Star Finance directors sent to jail

Five Star Finance directors Nicholas Kirk and Marcus Macdonald were today jailed for theft during their time at the failed finance company.

The pair were sentenced in the Auckland District Court this afternoon, having pleaded guilty to charges of theft, bought by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in relation to the misuse of funds at Five Star – which collapsed in 2007 owing investors more than $100 million.

Kirk, who was the managing director of the company, was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison and McDonald, the financier's former director, was sentenced to two years and three months in prison.

The pair's fellow director Anthony Bowden was this morning sentenced to nine months' home detention and 300 hours of community work, in relation to Securities Act charges.

It’s the first imprisonment for the Serious Fraud Office in relation to a major finance company collapse.

SFO chief executive Adam Feeley has described the case as one of the largest and most complex investigated by the agency in recent years.

The pair also faced charges under the Securities Act and Financial Reporting Act.

The SFO laid more than 100 charges under the Crimes Act in relation to related party lending that occurred between 2003 and 2007. Loans in question have a total value of $50 million, a large proportion of which are not recoverable.

Another former Five Star director Anthony Walpole and manager Neill Alan Williams are also charged by the SFO with offences relating to the misuse of funds but are yet to be committed for trial.

The charges carried a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment or fines of up to $300,000.

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