An Auckland property developer defending fraud allegations told a journalist in 2009 that he'd misled a trustee company caught up in an alleged $50 million loan scam, a court heard today.
Malcolm Mayer is accused by the Serious Fraud Office of dishonestly using documents to obtain almost $50 million of loans from Trustees Executors Ltd in a scheme involving 26 Auckland properties
TEL were allegedly sent documents between 2003 and 2007 which gave the impression someone unconnected to Mayer was buying a property when, in reality, the defendant or his co-conspirator Simon Turnbull was the purchaser.
By disguising who was really behind the purchase, Mayer was able to sidestep TEL's $4 million limit on what one individual person or connected set of people could borrow, the SFO has alleged.
Before the 55-year-old faced charges he was interviewed by Fairfax journalist Tony Wall, who appeared this morning in the Auckland District Court to give evidence in Mayer's trial.
The day after the 2009 interview the Sunday Star-Times published Wall's story on Mayer with the headline 'The $50m swindler: I confess'.
A recording of the hour-long interview was played to the court today and in it Mayer described how his family members or employees had received multi-million dollar loans from TEL for properties he was the beneficial owner of.
The court heard how Mayer said he was "guilty of omission" during the interview.
"There was a non-disclosure on my part and at the time I didn't think it was significant," Mayer said on the recording.
"I've mislead TEL, as I say, at the time I didn't think it was significant or hurtful to anyone," the recording said.
Wall asked Mayer why he had "decided to come so clean" and the property developer said his sister-in-law had been interviewed by the SFO and that he didn't "want her to be distressed".