The liquidators for CBL Insurance are evaluating whether the insurer's auditor, Deloitte, complied with professional standards as they investigate the downfall.
McGrath Nicol's Kare Johnstone and Andrew Grenfell were appointed liquidators of CBL Corporation's New Zealand unit CBLI in November 2018, ahead of the listed company's 2019 liquidation. CBL Corp had been valued at $747 million.
A civil case has already been filed by the liquidators against CBL's directors and actuary PwC.
Deloitte, which was CBLI's auditor from 2015 to 2018, is now also under the liquidators' scrutiny.
Court documents viewed by BusinessDesk show the liquidators had sought information to determine whether Deloitte complied with the terms on which it was engaged, as well as to reconstitute the knowledge of its directors.
Deloitte had complied with part of a request under section 261 of the Companies Act, which empowers liquidators to get company documents.
However, it refused to give up some documents, so the liquidators used section 266, which gives liquidators wider-ranging powers to get information about a company, beyond just the company's own documents. The courts have a discretion under section 266 but look for whether the order is needed so that the liquidators can know what the directors knew.
The liquidators asked for Deloitte's audit files, supporting advice from actuarial subject experts and "all versions of the unsigned 31 December 2017 draft financial statements." It also asked for Deloitte internal communications, saying it would set out the scope later.
After the liquidators filed a draft claim and affidavit, it reached a "compromise" with the accounting firm, which said it would give up the documents.
"The parties consider that a pragmatic and collaborative approach to disclosure is in their respective best interests and importantly, in the best interests of CBLI's creditors," a joint memo in the proceedings said.
Deloitte said in a statement the firm is regularly asked by liquidators for information that might be of interest.
"At times, to comply with our own obligations, court orders are appropriate before that information can be released. A court order was issued with the consent of both parties in this instance."
Liquidator Johnstone said she could not provide any more information beyond what was in her reports to creditors and updates on its website.
Johnstone's civil suit is just one of several court claims underway following the insurer's collapse.
The Financial Markets Authority has launched two sets of proceedings against its former directors and former chief financial officer Carden Mulholland. The first relates to CBL Corp's initial public offering, and the second to disclosure obligations.
There are also two shareholder class actions underway, one funded by IMF Bentham, the other by LPF Group.
The Serious Fraud Office has also filed criminal charges against former managing director Peter Harris and one other person who has name suppression. A hearing was held over the second person's name suppression in the Auckland District Court on Friday. Judgment was reserved.