Former All Black Matthew Ridge's decade-old property development woes have been dug up as evidence in a finance company trial.

A statement of evidence from Mr Ridge was read out in the High Court at Auckland yesterday during proceedings against three men linked with the collapsed Dominion Finance.

The court heard how one of Mr Ridge's companies had approached Dominion Finance in 2002 for a $2.5 million loan to buy land in Remuera where he intended to build several luxury apartments.

This loan was repaid when another Ridge-linked company also borrowed money from Dominion.


The project ran into major problems in 2003 and 2004 and Mr Ridge approached Dominion Finance founder Terry Butler to see if he could find a buyer for it. Mr Ridge later accepted an offer from a company called Norfolk Manor to buy the development for $5 million. He said he had paid off Dominion Finance in full.

Norfolk Manor was fronted by ex-property developer John Williams, who also gave evidence yesterday.

Williams said that behind Norfolk Manor Ltd there was a joint-venture involving himself and Butler. To finish the project, Norfolk Manor borrowed $8.6 million from Dominion.

The three defendants - Robert Barry Whale, Paul William Cropp and a man with name suppression - are accused of related-party lending and transactions breaching Dominion's trust deed or that of a sister firm.