Business Editor for the NZ Herald

Final finance company trial looms

Paul Bublitz, one of the defendants in the case.  Photo / Norrie Montgomery.
Paul Bublitz, one of the defendants in the case. Photo / Norrie Montgomery.

Prosecutors and the defence are gearing up for the last failed finance company trial, more than a decade after failures began to rock the sector.

A pre-trial conference was held this morning in the Auckland High Court ahead of the 12-week Viaduct Capital and Mutual Finance case beginning next month.

Viaduct and Mutual went into receivership in 2010. At that time, Viaduct owed $7.8 million to investors and Mutual owed $9.3 million.

Some four years after the failures, Paul Bublitz, Bruce McKay and Richard Blackwood - associated with Viaduct and Mutual - were charged with theft by a person in a special relationship, making false statements in a prospectus and making false statements to a trustee.

The Financial Markets Authority, which is prosecuting the case, has also charged Lance Morrison and Peter Chevin - both said to be associated with Mutual only - with theft by a person in a special relationship and making false statements in a prospectus.

The men deny the charges.

The short hearing before Justice Mark Woolford this morning dealt mostly with administrative matters, including a bid by Bublitz to get access to some documents.

The trial is the last of a score of prosecutions brought by the FMA and Serious Fraud Office in the wake of finance company collapses that left investors owed billions of dollars.

- NZ Herald

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