Hamish Fletcher

Business reporter for the NZ Herald

Tribunal strikes off convicted ex-director

Former Five Star Consumer Finance 
director Nicholas George Kirk. Photo / Supplied
Former Five Star Consumer Finance director Nicholas George Kirk. Photo / Supplied

Former Five Star Consumer Finance director Nicholas George Kirk - who served 11 months in jail after the company's collapse - has been ordered to be struck off as a member of the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants.

Kirk faced a hearing at the institute's disciplinary tribunal earlier this month, where the unemployed 67-year-old bankrupt faced allegations that his criminal convictions brought the accountancy profession into disrepute.

He pleaded guilty to the tribunal charges and the disciplinary body ordered his removal from the institute's register.

"The member's convictions reflect on both his fitness to practise accountancy and tend to bring the profession into disrepute," said disciplinary tribunal chairman Jim Hoare in a written decision.

"The tribunal has regard to the fact that the member was a discharged bankrupt, unemployed, 67 years of age and with restrictions on his employment under terms of his parole."

Although the institute's conduct committee sought full costs of $5161 from Kirk, the tribunal ruled he should pay only $1500.

According to a tribunal spokesperson, Kirk has until tomorrow to appeal.

Kirk, who lives in Mangawhai Heads, had "no idea" yesterday if he would lodge an appeal and did not wish to comment further.

The accountant was sentenced in 2010 to two years and eight months in jail after pleading guilty to Crimes Act, Financial Reporting Act and Securities Act charges.

He was released on parole last year after serving 11 months in jail and is banned from being a director of a company until March 2014.

Five Star marketed itself as a low-risk or modest-risk finance entity which made small consumer loans of around $3500 over three years, for clients to make household purchases such as fridges.

Instead, the Five Star group was allegedly investing large sums in complex commercial and related-party loans - totalling more than $50 million.

Five Star Consumer Finance went into receivership in 2007 owing $42 million. Investors have so far clawed back 22.5 per cent of their losses and receivers say a further payout of up to 5c in the dollar is possible.

Other companies in the Five Star Group - including Five Star Finance and Five Star Debenture Nominee - collapsed owing $43 million.

- NZ Herald

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