Hamish Fletcher

Hamish Fletcher is a business reporter for the NZ Herald

Finance director property forfeited

Wayne Douglas, left, is serving eight years two months in jail and Neal Nicholls eight years six months. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Wayne Douglas, left, is serving eight years two months in jail and Neal Nicholls eight years six months. Photo / Sarah Ivey

A High Court judge has ordered property connected to a failed finance company director is to be forfeited.

Police took unprecedented action last year to restrain assets they said were associated with two jailed Capital + Merchant Finance directors, Neal Nicholls and Wayne Douglas.

When these assets were frozen, the High Court Auckland heard that the police were also targeting two properties allegedly associated with Douglas.

After an application brought by police last week, Justice Susan Thomas has made a profit forfeiture order in connection with one of these properties, which Douglas bought in 2008 and had a capital value of $560,000 as of 2011.

The address of this property is suppressed.

A minute from Justice Thomas on this order, which was made earlier this week, did not go into detail on its terms.

The High Court must make a profit forfeiture order if it is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the respondent in question has "unlawfully benefited from significant criminal activity" and has interests in property.

During last week's hearing, it was revealed that a settlement had been reached which involved the second property that was allegedly associated with Douglas and was originally in the police's sights.

The address of this property - a lifestyle block north of Auckland which has a capital value of $1.5 million - is also suppressed.

A lawyer representing the police told the High Court last week that a bank account with close to $1 million which was restrained last year is still frozen and at this time not facing an application for forfeiture. The police have alleged these funds are associated with Nicholls.

Nicholls is serving eight years six months in jail and Douglas eight years two months.

This followed a Serious Fraud Office trial where both men were found guilty of theft by a person in a special relationship for loans totalling almost $20 million. The men were also sentenced for misleading investors.

They loaned money for their own benefit in breach of Capital + Merchants trust deed. C+M collapsed in 2007 owing $167 million to investors.

- NZ Herald

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