The victim of a Napier fraudster says he is pleased with a judge's decision which found ASB Bank misled the court in a $3.9 million fraud case.
Hastings man Rob Elvidge, with former associate John Gifford, is making a claim against ASB, alleging it allowed the fraud to take place.
Between 2005 and 2008, while working as general manager for Pioneer Insurance in Napier, Blair Fitzsimons wrote three cheques drawing on the company's ASB account and totalling $3 million. He also borrowed $526,625 from Marac Finance and left Westpac $500,000 short when a cheque was dishonoured.
The money was used to prop up his struggling business, Xpress Vehicles Rentals, and for his personal funds.
He was sentenced to four-and-a-half years' jail in 2008, on eight charges of fraud and forgery, with two-and-a-half years' minimum non-parole. He was paroled in April 2011.
The company's founding shareholders, Mr Elvidge and Mr Gifford, were caught up in the fallout.
Four months after their former colleague was sent to prison, the two were forced to sell their houses.
The former directors say ASB should not have honoured cheques drawn by the fraudster.
In their most recent claim, Associate Judge Rob Osborne fixed security costs at $62,500, foiling their ability to continue the court fight.
They returned to the High Court, arguing before Associate Judge Roger Bell that Judge Osborne's decision was obtained improperly because the ASB had failed to disclose relevant documents, in particular a letter instructing the bank the signatories to a new account could be any of Pioneer's three directors but not Mr Fitzsimons.
In a recent decision, Judge Bell found the bank had acted with "gross impropriety".
"There was a badly flawed error in judgment in believing the exclusion of information could be justified by resort to a flimsy argument alleging irrelevance."
An ASB spokesperson said the bank was "surprised and disappointed" by the judge's findings.
"We do not agree with his comment that the bank acted with impropriety. We are reviewing the judgment and assessing our appeal options."
The spokesperson would not comment further.
Mr Elvidge told Hawke's Bay Today he could not comment on the particulars as the case was still sub judice, but he was "obviously pleased" with Judge Bell's decision.
A spokesman for Mr Elvidge added it was "an extremely telling decision against the bank".
"It's been a long time with considerable stress.
"It's a relief because it allows [Mr Elvidge and Mr Gifford] to get a proper hearing on all outstanding matters and get them resolved."