A Bridgecorp defence lawyer has attempted to pick holes in Crown testimony as the trial of three of the failed finance company's directors resumed after the summer break.
Former Bridgecorp directors Rod Petricevic, Rob Roest and Peter Steigrad are accused of misleading investors and each face 10 Securities Act charges of making untrue statements in the offer documents of Bridgecorp and Bridgecorp Investments.
Petricevic and Roest also face eight charges under the Crimes Act and Companies Act of knowingly making false statements in offering documents that Bridgecorp had never missed interest payments to investors, nor repayments of principal.
The Financial Markets Authority, which is bringing the Crown case, alleged the company began defaulting on payments in February 2007, five months before it collapsed owing 14,500 investors $459 million.
The trio deny the charges in a case expected to stretch until March.
All three of the accused - including Steigrad who has been absent for the majority of proceedings - were back in the High Court at Auckland yesterday as their trial resumed.
Steigrad's lawyer, Brian Keene QC, was also back in the courtroom after falling ill late last year.
He was hospitalised last month but yesterday was back in court and cross-examined Bridgecorp's former internal audit and risk manager, Indra Kumar.
Kumar is a key witness in the Crown case and has appeared on the stand since November.
Keene queried Kumar's memory yesterday and suggested the Bridgecorp manager had got dates and details wrong when giving testimony last year.
Upon seeing documents the defence produced, Kumar conceded he might have mixed up some dates.
Keene then questioned the reliability of Kumar's testimony relating to the "Barcroft transaction", which involved the sale of loans from Bridgecorp to Barcroft Holdings.
The original amount Barcroft owed Bridgecorp in June 2006 was $76.8 million. This had grown to $90 million by November 30, 2006 and was more than $100 million before the company collapsed.
Barcroft is alleged to have had covert ties with Bridgecorp director Gary Urwin through trusts, and through parent company BHL, a company which Bridgecorp exercised considerable control over.
Despite the alleged link, Barcroft was listed as an unrelated company in the Bridgecorp prospectuses distributed to investors after December 20, 2006.
Kumar said in November he had several concerns with Barcroft's apparent related-party status and included these in his audit reports prepared before directors signed the prospectuses.
"Your recollection about that is also wrong and you did not raise with the audit committee at all the issue of Barcroft as a related party," Keene said yesterday.
"I beg to differ on that," Kumar replied.
Bridgecorp's defence has taken a hard line with Kumar throughout the trial; Petricevic's lawyer, Charles Cato, alleged last year the manager made up some "very serious evidence".
The trial continues today with Kumar returning to the stand.
THE BRIDGECORP TRIAL
* The Financial Markets Authority accuses Rod 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 yesterday after Steigrad's lawyer, Brian Keene, QC, fell ill and was hospitalised. Two others charged in the case have pleaded guilty to 10 charges.