Hamish Fletcher

Business reporter for the NZ Herald

Assignee drops Peters bankruptcy bid

Jamie Peters
Jamie Peters

Authorities are giving up the fight to put former property developer Jamie Peters back into bankruptcy and will withdraw their case against him from the Court of Appeal.

Peters, an ex-rich lister who by his own estimation bought and sold property worth more than $1 billion during his 20-year career, was declared bankrupt in October 2009.

The Official Assignee, which manages personal insolvencies, estimates debts personally owed by Peters or by corporate entities linked to him total more than $125 million.

Personal insolvencies normally last three years but the Official Assignee in Peters' case objected to the former property developer being discharged from bankruptcy.

This resulted in Peters' financial affairs being examined in the High Court at Auckland last June and July before Associate Judge David Abbott. The Official Assignee broadly contended that when Peters saw insolvency was inevitable he moved what he could salvage from his assets into entities which appeared independent but remained under his control and since his bankruptcy he engaged in business activities with the use of these assets.

Peters, in turn, applied to the court to be discharged from bankruptcy.

Just before last Christmas, Associate Judge Abbott released Peters from bankruptcy, saying he did not believe there was sufficient reason to impose sanctions on the former property developer or that his discharge would create "an unmanageable risk to the business community".

The Official Assignee then took the matter to the Court of Appeal and filed papers with the appellate court in February.

It was seeking to have the High Court's decision set aside and Peters' bankruptcy extended for at least three years.

However, the Official Assignee is now dropping that fight.

"The Official Assignee confirms that a decision has been made to discontinue the appeal against the decision to discharge Jamie Peters from bankruptcy," a spokesman said.

The decision to call over the appeal follows Associate Judge Abbott releasing full reasons into his decision to discharge Peters.

The judge said the inferences the Official Assignee invited the court to draw could not stand against evidence given by those other than Peters.

Peters is still facing separate charges brought by the Official Assignee, including for allegedly concealing property.

- NZ Herald

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