Former Bridgecorp director Rod Petricevic is spending Christmas in Queensland during an adjournment of his trial - much to the anger of investors who lost $490 million in his company's collapse.
Petricevic is defending Financial Markets Authority charges of misleading investors, and was yesterday given permission by a High Court judge to travel to Australia for Christmas before the trial resumes in January.
But Justice Geoffrey Venning warned him that the court case would continue even if he did not return.
The trip was allowed only if his lawyer Charles Cato provided details of Petricevic's travel dates and where he would be staying, and gave an assurance that he would not travel any further than Australia.
The FMA did not oppose the Australian trip.
It is the second time a Bridgecorp director on trial has been allowed to travel overseas.
The Herald revealed last month that fellow Bridgecorp director Gary Kenneth Urwin was bailed to a Sydney property after changing his plea to guilty of 10 charges of misleading investors early in the trial.
He was supposed to be sentenced at the High Court this week, but the hearing was adjourned so Urwin will also return to Australia until next year.
Bridgecorp investors are angry about the decision to let Petricevic travel to Queensland to spend Christmas with his family.
Ross Grenfell was surprised to hear Petricevic had been given his passport back and was angry he was allowed out of the country.
Another investor, who lost more than $200,000 when Bridgecorp collapsed in 2007, did not believe Petricevic should have that privilege, while he was on trial.
"It's another slap in the face from the New Zealand justice system. He certainly shouldn't be allowed out of the country - that's a real slap in the face."
Barry Keon is another former Bridgecorp investor offended by the judge's decision.
"When you think of what you do to save the money in the first place it's absolutely sickening. To save money and work like crazy and then something like this happens."
The Financial Markets Authority accuses Petricevic - and fellow directors Rob Roest and Peter Steigrad - of making untrue statements in the offer documents of Bridgecorp and Bridgecorp Investments.
All three have pleaded not guilty.
The trial began in October after many delays, but was adjourned again until January 23 after Steigrad's lawyer, Brian Keene, QC, fell ill and was hospitalised.
Two others charged in the case have pleaded guilty to 10 charges.
additional reporting Andrew Koubaridis