Business reporter for the NZ Herald

Mercury makes play for fraudsters' assets

Paul and Jane Rose in the High Court earlier this year. Photo / NZ Herald.
Paul and Jane Rose in the High Court earlier this year. Photo / NZ Herald.

Mercury is attempting to get hold of the assets of its jailed former engineer and his estranged wife.

Police have also filed an application with the High Court for Paul and Jane Rose's assets to be forfeited.

Paul Rose in May was sentenced to three years and two months' jail for obtaining $2.2 million from Mercury (formerly Mighty River Power) by deception.

His estranged wife Jane was sentenced to nine months' home detention for assisting with some of the offending. She has filed an appeal against her convictions.

The offending took place over Paul Rose's eight years of employment with Mighty River Power, which ended after an investigation and his subsequent dismissal in December 2012, when it was still a state-owned enterprise.

Paul Rose's job as an electrical engineer with MRP made him responsible for buying parts and organising services.

During his tenure, the Serious Fraud Office said, he secretly set up three companies that acted as a vendor to his employer.

Although his employee agreement required him to disclose his conflict of interest, he did not.

Paul Rose would buy goods from a real company, add a mark up and sell them to MRP, the SFO said.

Drawings from one of the secret companies funded the former couple's lifestyle and were used to pay the deposit on a house.

After the SFO charged the couple, the police froze their assets. The assets still on ice include $1.4 million of equity from the sale of three East Auckland houses, two Audis and a Ducati motorcycle.

The asset forfeiture case came before Justice John Fogarty this morning for a brief scheduling hearing.

Mercury Energy lawyer Aaron Lloyd told the judge his client was now making an "application for relief".

This is essentially a bid for Mercury to get the assets in the event the Roses are ordered to forfeit them.

The fight over the assets is unlikely to go before a judge until next year.

- NZ Herald

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