DF Mainland board probed

By PAUL PANCKHURST

The liquidators of crashed investment bank and sharebroker DFMainland are investigating whether the directors - who include a former Auckland Stock Exchange chairman - should be liable.

The litigation-prone DFMainland group of companies went into voluntary liquidation on December 16.

Liquidator Jeff Meltzer told a creditors' meeting in Auckland yesterday that the liquidators would look at exactly when the business became insolvent - and directors' actions from then on.

The directors of companies in the group included Stuart Cairns, Rick Braddock, Alan Warner and Rick Flower, at one time a chairman of the Auckland Stock Exchange.

Cairns told the meeting of low trading volumes and thin margins in the bread-and-butter side of the business, sharebroking, and the failure of "two or three" big investment banking deals. He regretted what had happened.

DFMainland raised $2.5 million from an issue of convertible notes in 2001.

One creditor said he could not see where all that money had gone.

A second quoted a letter to note holders last March that described DFMainland as financially strong.

He asked the liquidators to check whether that statement was true.

A third creditor, Julia Wood, of Newmarket, said Warner told her in November the business was solvent.

The liquidators, Meltzer and Arron Heath, are assessing the value of DFMainland's main asset, a 33 per cent stake in OMFinancial, a futures, options and foreign exchange company.

A directors' statement last year said creditors, including note holders, might get 30c to 50c in the dollar.

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