The lawyer of acquitted South Canterbury Finance chief executive Lachie McLeod has all-but-confirmed an application trying to get costs from the Crown will be made.

McLeod, along with former director Robert White, was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing after a five month High Court trial in Timaru brought by the Serious Fraud Office.

Only one of the defendants, ex-SCF director Edward Sullivan, was convicted on five out of the nine charges he faced and is due to be sentenced in December.

On the day of the verdicts earlier this month, McLeod's lawyer Jonathan Eaton said he'd be "having a very close look at our entitlement to seeking some sort of contribution to the costs that have been incurred".


The Queen's Counsel this week all-but-confirmed the costs application would be filed:

"I have no doubt an application will be filed shortly," he told the Herald yesterday.

It is understood that the total defence costs for all the accused is north of $1 million.

• Previous acquitted defendants in Serious Fraud Office trials have had success in getting costs.

In 2007 the Supreme Court reinstated a costs award for four acquitted Digi-Tech defendants and at the time the payout was believed to be in the region of $1 million.

The SFO took action against the Digi-Tech four in 2004, alleging their scheme was a "legitimate, if marginal, tax scheme" rendered a fraud by fictional insurance and loan transactions. The scheme offered tax-deductible expenses during its 10-year life with the bulk of the investment paid in the last year.

Up to 75 loss-attributable companies were set up by investors.

The two parts of the scheme involved technology company Digi-Tech and a company called New Zealand Investments Ltd.


Investors were to buy $1 million of shares over 10 years, but pay more than 80 per cent in the last year.

They took out insurance, with premiums mostly paid with tax-deductible borrowed money, guaranteeing the shares would be worth $3 million at the end of the period.

In 2004, the four defendants - John Reid Peter Connolly, John Currie and Peter Russel - were each found not guilty on two counts of fraud. Reid, Currie and Russel were also cleared on various money laundering charges.