Kurt Bayer

Kurt Bayer is an APNZ reporter based in Christchurch.

Ex-director pleads guilty to 'top end' fraud

Former director of Lane Walker and Rudkin Kenneth James Anderson. Photo / Simon Baker
Former director of Lane Walker and Rudkin Kenneth James Anderson. Photo / Simon Baker

The former boss at a Canterbury clothing manufacturer that kitted out some of our greatest sporting heroes has today pleaded guilty to a multi-million dollar "top end" fraud.

Ken Anderson, now 66, was the sole director and ultimate shareholder of century old Lane Walker Rudkin when it went into receivership in April 2009.

After a 21-month investigation, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) laid 61 charges against Anderson in 2011 for allegedly fabricating financial documents to gain loans worth $118 million from Westpac.

It also laid 21 charges against him for allegedly using fake documents to gain funds with a letter of credit facility from Westpac.

Another individual associated with the letter, who has name suppression, was also charged.

Although the prosecution was announced more than two years ago, the SFO said on Friday that discussions were still taking place to confirm the final charges which would be included in the pair's trial.

Today at the start of a judge-alone trial at Christchurch District Court, Anderson pleaded guilty to four representative charges.

The charges state that between November 2006 and March 2009 with intent to obtain a pecuniary advantage, dishonestly and without claim of right used or attempted to use a document to obtain funds from Westpac, and for credit transactions between another company he was connected with.

Defence counsel Kirsten Gray applied for bail until Anderson is sentenced on November 25.

Judge Jane Farish granted the application providing Anderson's passport was already surrendered and he does not apply for further travel documents.

Judge Farish said it was very unusual he got bail after admitting such a large fraud.

Andrerson nodded in the dock when Judge Farish warned him he was likely facing a sizeable jail term.

"It's years, it's not months."

The summary of facts says the fraud was in the "tens of millions and is to be finally determined before sentencing".

Crown prosecutor Brent Stanaway said the SFO was "very clear" on what the total loss amounts to.

He did not oppose bail, which he admitted was highly unusual given it involved a "top end" fraud.

A second accused, who has name suppression, today pleaded not guilty to eight charges.

A trial will now begin at the district court and is expected to last two weeks.

Anderson took over Lane Walker Rudkin in 2001 with then-wife Patricia, who, according to the Companies Office, officially ended her involvement with LWR in 2006.

Lane Walker Rudkin was one of Canterbury's most famous brands and biggest employers, with some 4000 staff at its peak.

In its 105-history, it's said to have provided jobs for around 100,000 people, mainly Cantabrians, and was associated with brands such as Canterbury, Jockey and adidas.

It kitted out many famous New Zealand sporting heroes, including the 1924 Invincible All Blacks rugby team, middle distance champion runners Peter Snell and John Walker, and Sir Edmund Hillary's feet as he became the first person to climb Mt Everest in 1953.

- APNZ

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