Business Editor for the NZ Herald

Bridgecorp director Rob Roest denied parole

Former Bridgecorp director Robert Roest. Photo / Dean Purcell
Former Bridgecorp director Robert Roest. Photo / Dean Purcell

Bridgecorp's jailed chief financial officer Rob Roest has been denied parole because of the risk he could pose to the community despite him saying he won't return to accountancy or financial management.

Roest still lacked "any significant degree of empathy" for Bridgecorp's out-of-pocket investors, other than acknowledging their losses, a parole board decision said.

The former holder of Bridgecorp's purse strings has been offered a factory job and was described as being a "model prisoner" who worked in the canteen.

Roest, now 58, was jailed in 2012 for 6 and a half years when he was found guilty of 18 charges after a four-month High Court case brought by the Financial Markets Authority.

The charges related to misleading statements in the offer documents of Bridgecorp, a finance company which failed in 2007 owing $459 million to 14,500 investors.

In a separate Serious Fraud Office case, Roest had another three months added to jail term for his role in the $3.5 million fraudulent acquisition and financing of a luxury launch.

Earlier this month Roest appeared before the parole board, which today declined to release him. The board this month also declined to release Roest's partner-in-crime, Rod Petricevic.

Read more:
No parole for Bridgecorp boss Rod Petricevic

Judge Roland Mather said in today's decision that Roest's term had been "incident free" and "misconduct" free and that the jailed accountant held the "trusted position" of being a "free mover" around the prison.

"His motivation, co-operation and compliance and are reported as excellent," the decision said.

Roest was motivated to undertaken a NCEA qualification in warehouse and distribution.

Although when he was convicted Roest had not accepted liability for investor losses, he wrote to the parole board telling them he took "full responsibility" for his offending.

"Life is full of decisions and unfortunately I made a number of decisions in my role as finance director of Bridgecorp that had a profound effect on the innocent investors in Bridgecorp and consequently on their families as well as my own this point in my sentence I believe I have accepted responsibility in relation to my offending and do not believe I am a threat to society," he said.

He has taken the view that he would never be a director of a company or work for a company that raised public funds.

Roest said on reflection he probably would have pleaded guilty to the charges he faced and acknowledged he should not have signed the inaccurate offer documents.

"However, he was heavily dependent at the time on the advice of his lawyers, which was to go to trial," the decision said.

The board said the a significant area of concern around Roest's risk to the community was that he could be in a position to give investment advice or in a position to manage those funds.

"Despite his current views that he will not return to accountancy or a financial management role we cannot rule that out and the risk which goes with it," Judge Mather said.

"Taking those matters into account we are not, on the information at present before the board, satisfied on reasonable grounds that if released Mr Roest will not pose an undue risk to the safety of the community...," Judge Mather said.

The judge ordered a psychological report to address issues in Roest background that could pose a risk of reoffending and scheduled him to appear before the board next January.

See the Parole Board's decision here:

- NZ Herald

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