Kelt eviction close, says receiver

By Patrick O'Sullivan

Merchant banker Sam Kelt has still not paid his rent and his departure from his corporate headquarters is "a matter of days", receiver Kevin Pitfield, of Staples Rodway Chartered Accountants, says.

Mr Kelt's company, Kelt Capital, was to have paid rent for the offices on the corner of Nelson and Heretaunga streets in Hastings by Friday, or face eviction.

Another of his companies, Manhatten Services, owns the building, but Asteron Trust Services called in the receiver to recover mortgage payments owing.

"Right as we speak, he is still in, but I would say not for very much longer the way things are going," Mr Pitfield said.

Selling the property was an option but that had not been initiated by the receiver.

"Sam Kelt had the property on the market before we became involved. We do have an offer on it and at this stage it is a conditional offer."

The offer was based on a vacant tenancy.

Mr Kelt said his departure was not imminent.

"I'm not really interested in talking about it," he said.

He denied rumours he had personal land for sale.

"I'm not interested in talking to you, but no, I have no land for sale."

The headquarters had a value of $1.65million, according to Hastings District Council records.

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 $1.7billion against five people involved in SCF, including charges relating to Kelt Finance.

Kelt Finance was 75 per cent owned by Southbury Group, a subsidiary of SCF. An SFO spokesman said Kelt Finance was regarded as the victim of the alleged fraud.

Mr Kelt said it had been "extraordinarily damaging" to his business but last week indicated it was still trading profitably.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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