Prime Minister John Key knew before he left the country that South Canterbury Finance owner Allan Hubbard and his business interests would be put into statutory management last weekend and he supports the decision.
Asked to respond to Mr Hubbard’s claim that had he been in the country last weekend the statutory management order would not have been made, Mr Key said that was wrong.
“I was advised before I left the country that it was likely that ministers would have to group together on Sunday to make that decision,” Mr Key told reporters at a pre cabinet press conference this morning.
“I was aware of the decision they made and I support the decision they made,” he added.
Mr Key had been in South Africa at the FIFA World Cup.
On Sunday Commerce Minister Simon Power placed Aorangi Securities, seven charitable trusts, and Mr Allan Hubbard and his wife into statutory management.
The Serious Fraud Office is now investigating Aorangi.
Mr Hubbard described the move as "misguided" and yesterday said he believed Mr Key would have acted differently had he been in the country.
“I think if John Key had been there – he's a practical person – he would have seen this as nonsense," Mr Hubbard said.
Mr Key’s press secretary said there would be no further comment on the issue at this stage.
Meanwhile, the SFO has taken control of Aorangi’s offices in Timaru.
The inquiry centres on suspected offences involving “serious or complex fraud.”
At issue is whether any or all of about $134 million of investors' funds deposited with Aorangi had been received after proper disclosure, and whether those funds had been dealt with in a manner consistent with representations made to investors.
SFO chief executive Adam Feeley told NBR his team was well advanced on its first priority of securing documents.
“Having secured most of the info we need we think it is appropriate to let the statutory managers get themselves in order and get their perspective on things. I think a lot of what they are doing will inform our process. So we just want to give them some space now to get organised.”
Accountants Trevor Thornton and Richard Simpson from Grant Thornton have been appointed as statutory managers.
Mr Simpson said they were making good progress in understanding both Aorangi Securities and the business interests of Mr and Mrs Hubbard.
Letters were being sent shortly to the more than 400 investors in Aorangi Securities Limited to confirm details of their investments.
Wed, 23 Jun 2010