The Serious Fraud Office intends to withdraw two charges against former South Canterbury Finance group accountant Terrence Hutton in the country's biggest ever fraud case.
The white-collar crime investigator won't pursue two charges alleging false accounting in relation to the recording of a $25 million loan and a $10 million loan after reviewing the charges originally laid in December 2011, it said in a statement. Hutton was one of five people originally charged over the collapse of the Timaru-based lender, and is the second to have the charges dropped after former chief financial officer Graeme Brown was removed from the indictment in August.
"I am satisfied, having regard to the requirements of the Solicitor-General's Prosecution Guidelines, that the allegation against Mr Hutton should be withdrawn," SFO director Julie Read said.
The remaining defendants are former chief executive Lachie McLeod and former directors Ed Sullivan and Bob White, who are set to stand trial in March next year at the High Court in Timaru.
They're accused of committing fraud offences under the Crimes Act carrying maximum penalties of between seven and 10 years' jail-time.
The 21 charges relating to fraud, dating back to between November 2004 and February 2010, are linked to the $1.58 billion paid out to debenture holders covered by the retail deposit guarantee.
The most serious allegations are against Sullivan and White, whom the Crown asserts "each was a party to the making of deliberately false statements in prospectuses," according to a March judgment setting the trial date. Sullivan, White and McLeod are alleged to have used false financial statements to secure cover in the government's guarantee scheme.