Bridgecorp director sent to prison
Fri, 18 May 2012 11:37a.m.
By Tony Field
Former Bridgecorp Finance Director Cornelius Robert Roest has been sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison
Fifty-five-year-old Roest’s sentence is the same as the prison term given to former managing director Rod Petricevic late last month.
Roest and Petricevic were both found guilty of making false statements in investment documents, including saying that Bridgecorp had never missed interest or principal repayments to investors.
Non-executive director Peter Steigrad has been sentenced to nine months home detention, 200 hours community work and must pay $350,000 reparation.
Justice Geoffrey Venning said Steigrad was the least culpable of the five directors and had shown genuine remorse.
Bridgecorp collapsed into receivership on July 2, 2007, owing $459 million to 14,500 investors. It is likely those investors will recover less than 10 cents of each dollar invested.
Another $29 million was invested in capital notes, and none of that money is expected to be repaid.
From February 7, 2007 Bridgecorp regularly began missing interest or principal repayments to investors. But on March 30 a prospectus extension certificate was signed by Petricevic and then Bridgecorp chairman Bruce Davidson.
After that period $25 million of new money was invested with Bridgecorp and $86 million was reinvested.
Justice Venning said the Bridgecorp failure had not just had financial costs, but also great emotional and health costs on many investors. He read a statement from one of the investors.
The 79-year-old said he and his wife had invested their life savings with Bridgecorp.
Their hopes for a comfortable retirement were gone and they were no longer able to provide any financial help to their children. They now had to rely on a modest pension. The effect of the failure had been devastating and this had been the most depressing period of their lives.
Roest’s lawyer Paul Dacre said that his client accepted his role as a director. He was not going to try to blame Petricevic, nor deny that he had a major role in the company. But Petricevic was “the boss of Bridgecorp from the beginning and remained the boss until the end”.
On a day-to-day basis Roest told Petricevic everything he knew.
He submitted that Roest was remorseful, but Justice Venning said he did not accept that. Justice Venning said that “the first step towards true remorse is accepting he’s done something wrong. He doesn’t get there”.
Crown prosecutor Brian Dickie said Roest’s offending was at the pinnacle of this type of case. He said Roest had not shown true remorse, but rather regret for what had happened. “That’s not true remorse.”
“He doesn't accept or acknowledge that he was wrong. He doesn't accept the verdicts, he still doesn't think he has done anything wrong,” says the Justice.
How on earth can that be an expression of remorse?”
Dickie said the Crown accepted there was a difference between the scale of Roest and Steigrad’s offending. Brian Dickie said that community work was not an appropriate sentence for Steigrad, but that he accepted testimonials to Steigrad’s good character.
Steigrad’s lawyer Brian Keene QC said Steigrad’s actions were not reckless, and were not dishonest. He said that Steigrad was remorseful and that from the time he became aware of Bridgecorp’s problems Steigrad he had done all he could, when he could, to return something to investors. He said whatever the sentence given to Steigrad the fact he had been convicted was a very real penalty.
He said Steigrad had offered to pay reparation of $350,000.
Another former Bridgecorp director, Gary Urwin, was last month sentenced to two years in prison. He had pleaded guilty to misleading investors.
Bridgecorp Chairman Bruce Davidson pleaded guilty last year to ten charges of misleading investors. He was sentenced to nine months' home detention, ordered to pay $500,000 compensation and perform 200 hours community work.
Petricevic and Roest also face fraud charges. Their trial will begin at the Auckland District Court in September.
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20/05/2012 8:04:21 a.m.
The team that had Kiwisaver and ACC invest in Maddock which contributed much to the loss of $29 billion pre-election 2008?It made Hanovers team look law-abiding. There was the finders fee they received, plus the dinners etc.Labour still holds that team up as 'golden' as they were connected at the highest levels to Labour, and it was Labour who benefited some from the finders fee.Seams we have one rule for NZ, another rule for Labour conected when Labour in power that dont include NZ law ...Was also had the RNZAF flown to the USA to extract an individual under a sex crime allegation who couldn't use his passport for commercial planes due to the sex crime ... Fleeing justice on foreign soil, is okay if your connected to Labour at the highest levels.
18/05/2012 7:11:48 p.m.
We see Roest’s attitude a lot in this country, convicted criminals who are totally convinced they have done nothing wrong. I guy I used to go to church with is currently in front of the courts for fraud and showing much the same attitude.
18/05/2012 5:47:16 p.m.
This is ridiculous. He should be given comunity service at least then he would help the comunity. Prison solves nothing
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