Hamish Fletcher

Hamish Fletcher is a business reporter for the NZ Herald

Capital + Merchant directors sentenced today

Capital and Merchant former boss Owen Tallentire in the dock at the Auckland High Court in August 2012. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Capital and Merchant former boss Owen Tallentire in the dock at the Auckland High Court in August 2012. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Three former directors of the failed firm Capital + Merchant Finance are due to be sentenced today in the High Court at Auckland today for misleading investors.

Former C+M chief executive Owen Tallentire and directors Robert Sutherland and Colin Ryan pleaded guilty earlier this year to two charges of making an untrue statement in a registered prospectus and one charge of distributing advertisements which included an untrue statement.

The charges, laid under the Securities Act and brought by the Financial Markets Authority, carry a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment or fines of up to $300,000 and Tallentire will also be banned from managing a company for five years.

Tallentire, in his mid-60s, is already serving a sentence of five years' imprisonment for theft by a person in a special relationship charges in a case brought by the Serious Fraud Office.

In these proceedings, the founding directors and beneficial owners of C+M, Wayne Douglas and Neal Nicholls, were both jailed last year for seven and a half years, the longest sentences given to failed finance company bosses to date.

While Douglas and Nicholls also pleaded guilty in the FMA case, but the pair have filed for leave to appeal in the Supreme Court in the SFO case.

If the case goes that far, it will be the first time a criminal case involving former finance company directors has reached the country's highest court.

A sentencing date for Douglas and Nicholls on the FMA charges has not been yet been set.

Capital+Merchant collapsed in 2007 owing $167 million to about 7500 investors.

No funds are expected to be recovered for investors.

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