Witnesses were offered cash not to testify against millionaire drug addict Mark Lyon in a case which exposed him as using methamphetamine to entrap girls as young as 14 into sex, according to police and the father of one of the victims.
"There was an attempt to get her to change her evidence or pull her testimony," said the father of the girl aged 14 at the time Lyon, 59, gave her drugs then had sex with her.
He said an offer of money came from an associate of Lyon. He said she was told: "There's more than $20,000 if you pull your testimony."
Police have stressed there was no evidence of any link between the offer of money and Lyon.
Name suppression for Lyon lapsed yesterday, revealing the property developer as the man convicted on a string of drugs and sex charges and sentenced to 15 years in prison with a minimum of eight years to be served before a parole hearing.
Read also: The rise and fall of Mark Lyon
He stood trial with a woman aged 20 who was also found guilty on charges of getting Lyon young girls for his sexual gratification. She was described as Lyon's "pimp" by an officer investigating the case.
Lyon was also found to have carried out a prolonged sexual assault as punishment against a woman shackled in a "dungeon" at his Eden Terrace property. The woman's agony through the sexual assault was such she begged Lyon to rape her so it would be over.
The prison sentence brings to an end the millionaire property developer's public fall from grace. He went from being one of the city's most insightful businessmen in the 1990s to a drug addict imprisoned with the same gang members he partied with.
The charges follow a police raid on a 29-apartment building owned by Lyon in Eden Terrace which he used to house associates and friends immersed in the same lifestyle. Police cracked the case after Lyon's co-accused - troubled over her role - told a youth aid officer Lyon was using her to get young girls for sex.
Detective Sergeant Andrew Saunders, asked about the allegation money was offered in the lead-up to the trial, confirmed "approaches were made by people who were associated with Lyon - approaches were made to witnesses".
He said there was no evidence or information linking the offer to Lyon. He said further investigation would have required witnesses and "the girls had been through enough".
On Lyon, he said: "The guy's a walking billboard for why you shouldn't do drugs."
The conviction is the final shame inflicted on Lyon's family, who have suffered through repeated court appearances and high-profile incidents.
His father Cliff Lyon - former chairman of Turners & Growers and chief executive of Watties Industries - told the Weekend Herald of the family's struggle with the downfall of the boy born Alister Stuart Lyon, known as Mark.
"Our family are deeply saddened at these 2012 charges and the changes to Mark's personality and conduct that appear to be brought about by the use of methamphetamine. At the same time, we are sorry for and extend our sympathy to any innocent people who may have been affected."
The father of one of the victims aged 14 at the time of the assault said Lyon was evil.
"He's had so many chances from the judiciary in the past.
"He's gone off into a world of perverted sex and drugs and firearms and gangs.
"This man has caused so much damage to people in New Zealand because of his support for and dealings with methamphetamine."
He said his daughter was traumatised by the experience. Now aged 18, the time since had been disrupted by rehabilitation from drug abuse and the court case.
"I still see her as my baby girl, as an innocent."
He praised Mr Saunders for his leadership of the investigation, saying Lyon would have continued if police had not uncovered his sordid base of operations.
"I don't believe my anger for this person will ever go."