Jamie Morton

Jamie Morton is science reporter at the NZ Herald.

Former Kestrel owner guilty of fraud

The historic Auckland ferry Kestrel when it was moored in Tauranga Harbour and used as a restaurant. Its Photo / Alan Gibson.
The historic Auckland ferry Kestrel when it was moored in Tauranga Harbour and used as a restaurant. Its Photo / Alan Gibson.

A prominent Tauranga businessman has been barred from leaving the country after being found guilty of fraud charges over the sale of his former floating restaurant, Kestrel at the Landing.

The Kestrel, a 105-year-old vessel and the last working survivor of Auckland's historic ferry fleet, returned to Auckland last year after an onboard restaurant floating restaurant at Tauranga's waterfront went into liquidation in June 2008.

Its former owner, Michael Colosimo, was last year charged with fraud after an allegation he provided a forged set of financial documents to Michael and Sue Dyke in early 2007 when the couple was considering buying the floating restaurant and bar from Colosimo's company Cervino Holdings (CHL).

Shortly after the Dykes bought the business, Cervino went into voluntary liquidation.

In Tauranga District Court at the weekend, Colosimo, 48, was found guilty of making a false financial document and dishonestly using a false document to obtain a pecuniary advantage after an 11-day trial.

Supporters of the Dykes who packed the public gallery broke into applause as the jury left the courtroom after returning their verdict on Saturday.

Judge Peter Rollo asked for pre-sentence reports, including suitability for home detention, but said that did not mean Colosimo would not go to prison.

As part of his bail conditions, Colosimo was ordered to surrender his passport.

He was remanded on bail until October 11 for sentencing.

Tauranga Police detective Peter Sweeney said the verdict had been "well received" by Tauranga's business community.

- APNZ

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