Hamish Fletcher

Business reporter for the NZ Herald

Doubt over whether SFO's Bridgecorp trial will go ahead

Rod Petricevic. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Rod Petricevic. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Rod Petricevic's Serious Fraud Office trial may not go ahead, the Herald understands.

Petricevic and fellow Bridgecorp boss Rob Roest have pleaded not guilty to criminal charges laid by the SFO involving $5.2 million.

The pair have served less than two months of the 6-year jail sentences they were given in a separate case for misleading investors, who were owed $459 million when Bridgecorp collapsed in July 2007.

The SFO said last week the trial would proceed "as planned" in September, but a source close to the case said it may not get to the courtroom.

A criminal defence lawyer also said he did not think it was worth the SFO proceeding with the case, as a conviction, if the pair were found guilty, would not increase their total sentences by much.

Petricevic and Roest have been charged by the SFO over the purchase of the luxury vessel Medici.

It was allegedly bought and its operating costs paid with $1.8 million in Bridgecorp money but was owned by Poseidon, a firm Petricevic directed and owned.

Of the seven charges laid, two are solely against Petricevic.

The SFO alleges he used Bridgecorp money to pay $1.2 million to a "sham" business run by former beauty-product distributor Janita Wright.

It alleges Wright invoiced Bridgecorp for marketing consultancy work, database management, operation of an after-hours call centre and other business expenses.

But the work was allegedly either not done or the sums invoiced were out of proportion to the services provided and to Wright's qualifications, skills and experience.

- NZ Herald

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