Hamish Fletcher

Hamish Fletcher is a business reporter for the NZ Herald

Geneva chases founder for unpaid loan

Glenn Walker , former managing director of Geneva Finance in a 2007 photo.
Glenn Walker , former managing director of Geneva Finance in a 2007 photo.

A finance company is chasing its founder for a debt which the man's lawyer says would bankrupt him.

GFNZ Group, previously known as Geneva Finance, this morning applied for summary judgement in the Auckland High Court for an alleged debt owed by its former managing director, Glenn Andrew Walker.

Walker's lawyer, Peter Andrew, said GFNZ had given a loan for purchase of the company's shares by Walker's family trust, which the defendant is a trustee of.

The trustees are taking separate action against GFNZ to try to cancel the loan, claiming the finance company's actions made these shares worthless.

Andrew said this bid would be rendered obsolete if summary judgement was entered for the debt.

Andrew also said that if judgement was entered against Walker he would be made bankrupt.

Walker, who was 52 and unemployed, had no income or assets of any value, his lawyer told Justice Mark Woolford.

This episode in Walker's life had "ruined" him, Andrew said.

GFNZ's lawyer, Emma Sweet, did not refer to the amount of the debt in court and declined to reveal it once the proceedings had concluded.

She argued a loan agreement existed between the parties, the loan had matured, it was now owed and there was no defence to GFNZ's claim.

Justice Woolford reserved his decision on the summary judgement.

A company associated with GFNZ, called G2 Finance Holdings, had judgement entered against Walker in a separate case in 2012 for almost $112,000.

This was the amount of principal and interest owing on a loan given to Walker for purchase shares in G2 Finance by his family trust.

Walker made numerous attempts to challenge this judgement but his last attempt was rejected by the Court of Appeal in December last year.

The trustees are also attempting to have this loan extinguished, Andrew said.

Walker failed in his bid to be re-elected to Geneva Finance's board in late 2008. The company's annual report from June 2008 described Walker as its "founder and a "major shareholder."

Geneva Finance entered into moratorium in November 2007 owing investors more than $130 million and last August made final distributions under its repayment plan about 20 months ahead of schedule.

The finance company last year said it had repaid more than $169 million of principal and interest since entering moratorium.

The remaining amounts owing under the moratorium were not scheduled to be repaid until the end of March 2015 but the company made final payments in August totaling around $11.5 million.

Geneva was the first finance company to use a moratorium to give it some breathing space.

- NZ Herald

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