Westpac New Zealand is suing the ex-wife of convicted Lane Walker Rudkin fraudster Ken Anderson for being a party to the fraud and is seeking damages of $50.8 million.
The lender claims Patricia Anderson either defrauded it, or was part of a conspiracy to defraud it, by signing documents she knew were false in securing a $2.5m letter of credit facility, which masked the financial strain the clothing manufacturer was under.
She sought a number of interlocutory orders for the lender to amend its claim for further and better particulars. Associate Judge Rob Osborne granted some of Anderson's requests and dismissed others in a recently published September 12 judgment in the High Court in Christchurch.
Westpac was left out of pocket since it tipped Lane Walker Rudkin into receivership in April 2009, recovering $41m of the $130m owed at the time. It first served the claim on Anderson in mid-2016, the judgment shows.
Patricia and Ken Anderson were signatories and guarantors to the lender's offer of credit for Lane Walker Rudkin in 2001, and Westpac claims they said they were accountants, the judgment said. The couple split up in 2005, and a year later her guarantee from the original offer of credit expired.
Westpac claims Lane Walker Rudkin began facing financial problems from 2004 and had a shortfall in working capital which managers and Patricia Anderson tried to bridge with the letter of credit facility, which the judgment dubs the LOC fraud. The bank claims the use of the facility was dishonest because "invoices for fictitious stock were created to enable funds to be drawn down" and that Anderson was executing documents she knew were false, the judgment said.
"The plaintiff alleges that if it had been aware of the financial difficulties, the fact that the Andersons were not accountants and the LOC fraud, it would neither have released the defendant from her guarantee nor increased its lending to LWRI (Lane Walker Rudkin Industries) and the LWR Group," the judgment said. "Further, as a result of the LOC fraud, its losses amount to approximately $50.8m."
If Patricia Anderson didn't deceive the bank, it claims that she conspired and combined with management to perpetrate the fraud, leading to the $50.8m of losses.
Lane Walker Rudkin's former owner Ken Anderson pleaded guilty to four fraud charges in 2013, where he made false statements to secure lending from Westpac, and sentenced to six years imprisonment. He was granted parole in January last year.
The Serious Fraud Office initially laid 82 charges against Ken Anderson in 2011 before his guilty plea, saying at the time the fraud "had a profound effect on the region, with LWR having employed many staff and enjoyed an international reputation".