Hamish Fletcher

Business reporter for the NZ Herald

Bridgecorp: Ex-director jailed

Former Bridgecorp director Gary Urwin being sentenced to two years jail at the High Court in Auckland this morning. Photo / Greg Bowker
Former Bridgecorp director Gary Urwin being sentenced to two years jail at the High Court in Auckland this morning. Photo / Greg Bowker

Former Bridgecorp director Gary Urwin, who pleaded guilty to ten charges of misleading investors, has this morning been sentenced to two years in prison.

Although Urwin's lawyer, David Reece had pushed for a sentence of home detention, Justice Pamela Andrews said this would not be appropriate.

Urwin originally went to trial with fellow Bridgecorp directors Rod Petricevic, Rob Roest and Peter Steigrad, but then changed his plea to guilty.

These men were convicted after a long trial last month and are awaiting sentence.

Former Bridgecorp chairman Bruce Davidson was sentenced to nine months' home detention in October last year after changing his plea to guilty, and was ordered to pay $500,000 reparations and perform 200 hours of community work.

When delivering his verdict in the Petricevic, Roest and Steigrad case, Justice Geoffrey Venning said it was inevitable that Roest and Petricevic would face jail time.

Petricevic will be sentenced on April 26th and Roest on May 18. Both are in custody.

The Crimes Act charges those two were convicted of related to statements in Bridgecorp's offer documents that the company had never missed a payment of interest or principal to investors.

According to evidence tabled in their four-month-long High Court trial, Bridgecorp began missing payments to investors on February 7, 2007. The company collapsed around five months later, owing $459 million to 14,500 investors.

Petricevic maintained in court he did not know about the missed payments in February and did not become aware of one set until he read about it in the newspaper. However, in what began something of a blame game in the trial, Roest said he told Bridgecorp's former managing director about issues with money going to investors on time.

After sentencing, Petricevic and Roest are due to appear in court together again in September on criminal charges brought by the Serious Fraud Office.

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