Former finance company boss Rod Petricevic was yesterday denied taxpayer legal aid, but his fraud case has been postponed to give his lawyer time to decide whether to appeal.

Petricevic's initial bid for public funds to pay for his defence has been denied because of a large amount of money allegedly held in trust.

His fraud case was delayed yesterday until March 1 to allow his lawyer time to assess the decision. The trial is not expected to start until September.

Petricevic can apply to the Legal Aid Review Panel, which is independent of the agency, to have a panel review the decision.

An applicant can apply for a review of an agency decision on the grounds that the decision was "manifestly unreasonable" or "wrong in law".

It is understood the Legal Services Agency, which supervises legal aid, was not satisfied, because of assets under trust, that Petricevic could not pay his own fees.

The accounts of the RM Petricevic Family Trust were examined and Petricevic and his wife had received payments over the past few years.

The trust is allegedly millions of dollars in credit.

Petricevic and fellow former director Rob Roest appeared in the Auckland District Court yesterday on Serious Fraud Office charges which they are defending.

Only Petricevic applied to have his legal fees paid by the taxpayer.

SFO lawyer Patrick McCann said a trial date had not been set but it would be delayed only by the six weeks given to Petricevic's lawyer, Charles Cato, to reassess his client's position.

Former Bridgecorp investor Barry Keon said it was a "joke" that Petricevic ever applied for legal aid.

He believed the financier had access to other money.

"What a joke. He's trying to tell people he has no money. So many elderly people have had their life savings go down the drain. I've got no sympathy for the man."

Mr Keon, 71, lost $100,000 when Bridgecorp collapsed and said he was pleased legal aid had been denied.

"My wife screamed 'yippee' when she heard. I worked very, very hard my whole life. Now that money is gone. I am glad they got him on this."

Bridgecorp owed 14,500 investors $460 million when it collapsed in 2007.

The SFO has accused Petricevic of making fraudulent payments of $1.2 million to a sham business run by an acquaintance, Juanita Wright.

Ms Wright is an ex-model who is listed as a director of a tanning supplies business.

The SFO alleges that Ms Wright ran a business, ABb, that invoiced Bridgecorp for marketing and consultancy work, database management, operation of an after-hours call centre and other business expenses.

It says this work was either not done or the sums invoiced were out of proportion to the quality and quantity of the services provided and to Ms Wright's qualifications, skills and experience.

The SFO said at the time the criminal charges were laid against Petricevic that the business was "in essence a sham to enable Mr Petricevic to make alleged fraudulent payments from Bridgecorp".

Petricevic and Roest have been charged over the purchase of the luxury vessel the Medici, allegedly bought and its operating costs paid with $1.8 million of investors' money.

The boat was owned by Petricevic's company Poseidon. It is also alleged Petricevic and Roest provided a security for a loan to Poseidon.

Petricevic is bankrupt and a dispute is before the courts between the family trust - of which he is a trustee - and the Official Assignee over $800,000 paid to the trust during the two years before his bankruptcy in August 2008.

The heart of the case lies in the Official Assignee's allegations that Petricevic was insolvent at the time he made the payments. The Official Assignee alleges Petricevic gave the trust preferential treatment over his other creditors.