SFO confirms Hubbard charges

By Fran O'Sullivan, Susie Nordqvist, Anne Gibson

Allan Hubbard
File photo
Allan Hubbard File photo

The Serious Fraud Office has confirmed it has laid 50 charges of fraud against failed financier Allan Hubbard, over the management of his personal flagship Aorangi Securities Limited.

SFO chief executive Adam Feeley said Crimes Act charges were laid in the District Court in Timaru today, after an exhaustive investigation.

The SFO does not intend to lay charges against any other current or former director of Aorangi Securities Limited.

Nor are any other charges being contemplated by the other agencies involved with the investigations into Aorangi or Hubbard Management Funds.

"Whatever the public may think, in considering whether serious fraud has been committed, the motives or lifestyle of an alleged offender are ultimately irrelevant.

"We have to consider matters such as whether deceit has occurred; the losses caused by that that deceit; and whether the facts meet the prescribed elements of one or more criminal offences," Feeley said.

Hubbard's lawyer Mike Heron of Russell McVeagh in Auckland said he had yet to view the charges.

"As we have not yet been provided with a copy of them, we have not had an opportunity to consider the charges. We understand that consistent with Mr Hubbard's position all along, the SFO is not alleging he has stolen any money nor that he has benefited personally," Heron said.

"The charges are strenuously denied by Mr Hubbard. They mark the end of a process which in our view has been fundamentally unfair and amounts to a clear breach of Mr Hubbard's rights.

"We intend to file an application to stop the prosecution at the appropriate stage," Heron said.

"Finally, contrary to media reports we understand that no charges have been laid against Mrs Hubbard," Heron said.

The Hubbard Support Team is remaining firmly behind Mr Hubbard and his wife, releasing a statement today that said the charges did not lessen their support in any way.

"We remain fully committed to examining the actions of Government to ensure that their exercise of powers have been applied with procedural fairness and within the principles of natural justice. Where there is evidence of a departure from relevant policies and laws, we remain equally committed to seeking redress.

"We would like to stress to investors and to the public in general that the SFO charges are not an attestation of wrongdoing."

Hubbard confirmed to the Herald earlier in the day that charges will be laid against him over the management of his personal flagship Aorangi Securities Limited.

A Serious Fraud Office investigation was opened after Hubbard and his wife Jean were put into statutory management exactly one year ago.

Hubbard told the Herald at lunchtime that he was briefed earlier today on the pending charges.

And he challenged the SFO's decision to pursue him.

"I suppose it is designed to destroy me ... but I see they are abandoning Hotchin now."

Hubbard was referring to a statement by SFO chief executive Adam Feeley which suggested the SFO is facing difficulties with its probe into the collapse of Hanover Finance.

Hubbard's statutory managers Grant Thornton refused to comment on the SFO charges this afternoon.

"The managers continue to administer their obligations under statutory management and will report to investors at the end of this month as scheduled," a statement said.

The investigation into the Hubbards began after the former Securities Commission received a complaint from an anonymous investor that Aorangi had received funds without issuing prospectus. More than 400 investors and about $130 million were involved in Aorangi and the trusts.

John Funnell, of the Leave Allan Hubbard Alone supporters' group, said he supported the accountant in his early 80s.

"I feel sorry for the poor old bugger. The whole thing is unfortunate. We will be there till the end," Funnell said.

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