Hubbard SFO decision put on hold

By Adam Bennett

Allan Hubbard. Photo / Supplied
Allan Hubbard. Photo / Supplied

The Serious Fraud Office has agreed to put aside its decision whether to proceed with charges against Allan Hubbard until a legal stoush over who will foot the South Canterbury Finance founder's legal bills is resolved.

Statutory managers of Hubbard's affairs Grant Thornton had gone to the High Court to seek directions on whether it can pay legal bills from Hubbard's legal counsel Russell McVeagh.

A spokesman for Grant Thornton last week said the firm was seeking clarification of "how Mr Hubbard's legal fees are to be paid, especially his ongoing SFO-related costs".

The hearing before Justice Lester Chisholm began yesterday in Wellington and will continue today.

SFO chief executive Adam Feeley said his organisation was likely to be "peripherally" dragged in to the matter.

"Our time frame is now being dictated by that because until that's sorted out I don't think we're in a position to go any further because of what Mr Hubbard's lawyers are wanting to do.

"It seems perfectly reasonable to accede to that request to let that matter get tidied up because effectively Mr Hubbard could be without representation unless that is satisfactorily resolved so we've agreed that we will await the outcome of that."

The SFO's decision on whether to proceed with action against Hubbard has been delayed a number of times with the office late last year saying it had agreed to hold off its call until additional information was provided by Russell McVeagh.

Last month Feeley confirmed that information had been provided.

The SFO began investigating Hubbard's Aorangi Securities, operated by him in conjunction with his Timaru accountancy practice, shortly after Hubbard's affairs were put under statutory management in June last year.

The SFO has said the company owed approximately 400 investors $90 million-$100 million.

- NZ Herald

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