Former New Zealand Justice Minister Bill Jeffries plans to appeal a High Court judgment that found him guilty of making untrue statements as a director of Lombard Finance.
"I will be appealing. I can't speak of the reasons,'' Jeffries told BusinessDesk.
He was one of four Lombard Finance directors whom High Court Judge Robert Dobson said today had committed offences that were "a material step away from the seriousness required for a custodial sentence.''
The judge found two former Ministers of Justice, Doug Graham and Jeffries, and two other directors of the failed finance company, Lawrie Bryant and Michael Reeves, guilty of making untrue statements in investment documents and advertisements in late 2007 and early 2008.
The judge today ruled in favour of the Financial Market Authority's contention on two of the five respects in which it alleged untrue statements about the company's liquidity, impairment of major loans, existence of and adherence to lending and credit policies, absence of change in the company's financial position between March and December 2007, whether there were other matters material to the offer of securities.
The Lombard collapse, one of many finance company failures between 2007 and 2009, left 4,400 investors owed $127 million.
While the directors argued there had been no criminal intent in their actions, Judge Dobson said that was not a relevant issue from a legal perspective.