Hamish Fletcher

Hamish Fletcher is a business reporter for the NZ Herald

Dominion trial still 15 months off

Ann and Terence Butler, who are accused of misleading investors, are trying to sell their home. Photo / Amos Chapple
Ann and Terence Butler, who are accused of misleading investors, are trying to sell their home. Photo / Amos Chapple

The trial of former Dominion Finance Group directors is not due to begin until next year - more than four years after the company went into receivership owing almost 6000 investors $177 million.

Former directors Vance Arkinstall, Richard Bettle, Terence Butler, Ann Butler, Paul Forsyth and Robert Barry Whale are accused of misleading investors in Dominion Finance Group and North South Finance offer documents and advertisements.

The Financial Markets Authority, which is bringing the case, also alleges that a Dominion Finance Group newsletter sent to the company's investors and those of North South Finance in 2008 contained untrue statements.

The six accused face Securities Act charges with a maximum penalty of five years' jail or fines of up to $300,000 plus $10,000 for every day the offending went on.

Lawyers for the prosecution and defence held a telephone conference yesterday to confirm dates for the trial, which is set down for June 2013 in the High Court at Auckland.

Dominion Finance Group and North South Finance were operating subsidiaries of the NZX-listed Dominion Finance Holdings. Both companies offered property and commercial loans. DFG went into receivership in September 2008 owing 5937 investors $176.9 million.

Receivers for DFG said last December that debenture holders were likely to get back between 10c and 25c in the dollar.

NSF went into receivership in July 2010. DFH entered voluntary administration in October 2008 and was placed into liquidation in February 2009.

In total, the group is estimated to owe creditors $400 million.

As well as the FMA allegations, the Serious Fraud Office has laid Crimes Act charges of theft by a person in a special relationship against Butler and Whale.

Former Dominion Finance chief executive William Cropp and an accused with name suppression also face charges in the SFO case, which is due to go to trial in February 2013.

The SFO alleges that between 2004 and 2008, they participated in unauthorised related party lending totalling over $20 million in breach of trust deeds.

It was revealed last week Terence and Ann Butler are trying to sell their Remuera home, which has a rateable value of $6.8 million.

- NZ Herald

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