Kelt might be out

By PATRICK O'SULLIVAN

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Merchant Banker Sam Kelt could be evicted from his own Hastings corporate headquarters after falling behind in mortgage payments and rent.

Mr Kelt's company Manhatten Services owns the building on the corner of Nelson and Heretaunga streets but Manhatten is behind in mortgage payments to Asteron Trust Services, who called in receivers.

Receiver Kevin Pitfield of Staples Rodway Chartered Accountants, said work was being done to market the property.

"We are receivers over the property, not the company in general," he said.

Mr Kelt's company Kelt Capital is a tenant in the building and is behind in rent.

Mr Pitfield said Kelt Capital had until Friday to pay rent arrears or the lease would be cancelled.

"If the tenant comes up with the rent and brings everything up to date then the lease remains."

That would result in Mr Kelt being a tenant while the building was sold.

Mr Kelt's company finances came under public scrutiny last year after fraud allegations were laid at South Canterbury Finance (SCF).

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) laid 21 charges involving $1.7 billion against five people involved in SCF, including charges relating to Kelt Finance.

An SFO spokesman said Kelt Finance was regarded as the victim of the alleged fraud.

Kelt Finance was 75 per cent owned by Southbury Group, a subsidiary of SCF.

In December Mr Kelt said that a loan for $10 million from Kelt Finance to Southbury Group appeared on Kelt Finance's books in October 2009. "The documents effectively transferred a loan that he [Alan Hubbard, SCF chairman] had himself with Southbury Group and turned it into a loan with Kelt Finance and put it on the Kelt Finance books."

However, no money changed hands and no such loan ever took place, he said.

"SCF was attempting to hide related-party loans," Mr Kelt said.

Such loans are limited by the Crown retail deposit guarantee scheme.

The loan was authorised by Mr Hubbard, who claimed he had signed the documents without reading them.

Mr Kelt ended the venture with SCF's Southbury Group.

"When the SFO announced it was investigating SCF, I immediately contacted the SFO and informed them of this transaction and provided information around it. I have been working with them for most of this year to try and sort it out."

Mr Kelt said it had been "extraordinarily damaging".

The headquarters have a value of $1.65 million, according to Hastings District Council Records.

Mr Kelt declined to comment on his current situation.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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