Business reporter for the NZ Herald

Investors may bankrupt jailed bullion trader

Robert Kairua about to enter Auckland District Court. Photo / Jason Dorday
Robert Kairua about to enter Auckland District Court. Photo / Jason Dorday

Investors owed $2.7 million by a failed bullion company may now try to bankrupt its jailed boss, who prosecutors say ran a "bogus, fraudulent scheme".

The 36 investors left out-of-pocket by Robert Kairua's firm have yet to make their mind up on whether to pursue civil action against him after he was jailed for 3 years and nine months last July.

This followed him admitting charges in the Auckland District Court for making false statements and those for theft by a person in a special relationship.

The Auckland businessman's company, Grace Holdings NZ, ran the gold and silver trading website BullionBuyer and was probed by the Serious Fraud Office when he told some investors in 2012 they would not be getting their money back.

When the company was liquidated, it was revealed investors were owed $2.7 million.

Liquidator Grant Reynolds has downplayed the prospect of recovering money from the start and said last year that chasing Kairua may be a "fruitless exercise".

Reynolds, however, said in his latest report out today that investors are discussing whether to pursue Kairua "including applying for him to be adjudicated bankrupt".

Kairua, who is in his mid-50s, said last year that he had no money left.

The director represented himself during his sentencing, during which SFO prosecutor Nick Williams call the gold trading "a bogus, fraudulent scheme".

Kairua, however, said he was "well and truly duped" by his former trader Elijah Geldman, who was jailed in the United States for an unrelated fraud.

After firing Geldman in September 2011, Kairua took over the trading himself but was inexperienced in dealing with precious metals.

- NZ Herald

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