Business Editor for the NZ Herald

Fraud alleged in Auckland building project

Waldorf Celestion Apartment Hotel on Anzac Ave in Auckland. Photo / Brett Phibbs.
Waldorf Celestion Apartment Hotel on Anzac Ave in Auckland. Photo / Brett Phibbs.

An Auckland property developer and three others have been charged by the Serious Fraud Office for allegedly using forged documents to get a $40 million line of credit from ANZ.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) says it had laid charges for obtaining by deception and using forged documents against property developer Leonard John Ross, company director Michael James Wehipeihana and consultant Vaughn Stephen Foster.

Another person charged still has name suppression.

The defendants allegedly made false statements and used forged documents in order to obtain a $40m loan facility from ANZ for Emily Projects to develop the Waldorf Celestion Apartment Hotel in Auckland, the SFO said today.

"The SFO alleges that the defendants conspired to mislead ANZ to secure a loan facility," SFO director Julie Read said.

"The banks are entitled to expect that businesses will provide accurate information in support of their loan applications and a failure to do so may have cost implications for all."

Emily Projects, a company directed by Ross, went into liquidation in 2012.

Emily Projects' liquidators, Timothy Downes and Greg Sherriff said in their final liquidators report in October 2015 that investors had claimed $2.89m from the firm and two other creditors had claimed $671,000.

These creditors had been paid $420,310, a return of 11.8c in the dollar.

- NZ Herald

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