The two defendants facing Serious Fraud Office charges in relation to the collapse of CBL Corporation have pleaded not guilty and have opted for a jury trial.
Former CBL chief executive Peter Harris - aided by a walking cane - briefly appeared in the Auckland District Court this morning. He appeared alongside another defendant who has interim name suppression.
They both pleaded not guilty to all of the Crimes Act charges.
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The charges against former director Harris include one accounting charge relating to an omission in the annual report which carries a maximum prison time of 10 years. The other person also faces this charge.
Harris also faces five charges of theft by a person in a special relationship, and two of obtaining by deception, which carry a maximum prison term of seven years.
The SFO has alleged Harris didn't disclose aspects of transactions relating to the National Bank of Samoa and used a fraudulent strategy to avoid scrutiny by New Zealand regulators. This involved facilitating a 12.5 million euro (NZ$21.4m) loan to Alpha Insurance, which was obscured by a series of transactions that made it appear the lender was Singapore Federal Pacific Group.
The fraud squad also claims a CBL agreement with United Specialty Insurance Company and TexCaz Transborder Insurance breached RBNZ directions.
The charging documents said Harris deliberately breached RBNZ directions relating to transactions totalling $26.1m and $7.4m paid to United Specialty Insurance Company.
The anonymous defendant, represented by David Jones QC, has been bailed to an Auckland address and was told not to contact any SFO witnesses as part of his bail conditions.
The three charges against that defendant relate to false accounting, theft by a person in a special relationship and obtaining by deception.
Crown prosecutor Brian Dickey is representing the fraud agency while Harris is represented by Rachael Reed QC and Lee Salmon Long's Jack Cundy.
The case is one of several relating to the collapse of CBL Corporation, which had a market cap of $747m when it collapsed in 2018.
The Financial Markets Authority has filed two cases against CBL Corporation, the six directors and its chief financial officer alleging multiple breaches of the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013. There are also two class actions under way.
The liquidators have also filed a case against directors and PwC which was the insurer's actuary.