Graham says he tried to help investors

Sir Douglas Graham.  Photo / Paul Estcourt
Sir Douglas Graham. Photo / Paul Estcourt

Sir Douglas Graham says he did everything he humanly could for investors in failed company Lombard Finance - and that they were warned of the risks.

Speaking on 60 Minutes last night, Graham said the most difficult thing he had to deal with since the collapse of the company - which left 4400 investors owed $127 million - and his subsequent trial was his family.

"That's been the most unpleasant affair altogether and I've written to them all, apologised for causing the family such grief. I felt that they deserve an explanation."

He felt he did everything he could for the investors.

"I couldn't stop the global property crash ... sorry, but I couldn't.

"For the existing investors in any finance company, their greatest risk of losing their money is having the company fail, and it fails when the public loses confidence and it goes into receivership, and as soon as it goes into receivership people have lost their faith."

Lombard had warned investors of what they were getting into, he said.

"Investors who came to Lombard had a prospectus of 30 pages or something of warnings, I don't know whether they read it - historically not many do. We had them on the counter of the office, no one ever picked them up.

"We sat [at] the board table and said if you read this you'd never invest in the company in a million years, no watering down, we did it deliberately. Four years later, we're told, well you left a bit out."

Last month, Graham and Lawrence Bryant were each sentenced to 300 hours of community work and ordered to pay $100,000 reparation.

Another former justice minister, Bill Jeffries, and Michael Reeves were each sentenced to 400 hours of community work.

The four directors were in February found guilty of making untrue statements about Lombard's position in its offer documents in December 2007.

During the eight-week trial of the four directors, evidence was given that Lombard sales staff were still soliciting investments from members of the public in March 2008, less than a month from the decision by the firm's trustees to call in receivers.

Graham felt he owed investors an apology as a director of the failed company.

"I don't doubt that some of them have faith in my judgment, and I'm sorry and apologise if they feel I've left them down. But even the judge said he didn't think that we had breached any trust to the investors.

"So I don't know what more I could do, I did everything I could humanly do."

Following the sentence, all four directors lodged papers in the Court of Appeal against their conviction.

Graham said since the conviction he had resigned from many roles.

"My career is over, I'm going fishing, you won't see me again, I am too tired."


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