John Weekes

John Weekes is an NZME News Service reporter based in Wellington.

Man on fraud charges

A multimillion dollar fraud and corruption case is under way after a man appeared in court this week.

More than $3.5 million went missing in a series of complex frauds that began in 2003, the Serious Fraud Office alleges. The man charged with those offences has interim name suppression.

It is understood thousands of investors who invested in the man's company may be out of pocket.

Another set of charges relates to tens of thousands of dollars in kickbacks, allegedly paid to an insurance agent who had his employers invest in the defendant's firm.

In Auckland District Court the man's lawyers asked for three weeks' name suppression, saying the defendant needed time to contact family.

"He's only just learned of the charges today and also he hasn't had an an opportunity to discuss this with his family overseas," a lawyer said.

That request was turned down but one week of name suppression was granted.

The man's bail conditions ban him from communicating with any complainants or with crown witnesses. He has also had to surrender his passport.

The SFO said it was unable to comment on the case until the suppression order was lifted.

The defendant's company is now out of business. Financial industry sources said receivership followed the appointment of liquidators.

When the Herald on Sunday asked for comment, the man said: "There's always two sides, eh?" He will reappear on June 13.

- Herald on Sunday

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