Former National Cabinet Minister Sir Douglas Graham believed it would have best if he had dropped dead at the start of his trial for misleading investors in the collapsed Lombard Finance, the National Business Review reports.

Last month Sir Douglas along with Bill Jeffries, Lawrence Bryant and Michael Reeves was found guilty of making untrue statements about Lombard's position in its offer documents in December 2007.

Lombard Finance was put into receivership in April 2008, owing $125 million to 4400 investors.

Graham and the other defendants are due to be sentenced tomorrow in the High Court at Wellington.


In his first interview since the guilty verdict, Sir Douglas told the NBR of the despair he felt when the trial began.

"On the first day of the eight week trial I said to Paul Davison, my QC: The best thing that could happen now would be for me to drop dead..." Sir Douglas told NBR.

According to the NBR's website, Graham wept "when describing the shame and embarrassment he [has] brought upon his family and friends."

"I'm finished... but it's been tough for them, especially my wife and children knowing that I have a criminal conviction. I've written to each of my children apologising for what's happened."

Graham told NBR he lost a $2 million shareholding in Lombard, and that his only form of income was a $26,000 parliamentary pension.

There was "next to no money in the kitty" to pay reparations to investors, he told NBR.

"I am not able to earn anything and any talk about reparations is a nonsense," he said.
Graham faces a maximum penalty of $300,000 in fines or five years' imprisonment.

Justice Robert Dobson indicated last month community sentence would be suitable, but did not rule out a jail term.