EXCLUSIVE: Criminal charges have been laid against Blue Chip co-founder Mark Bryers for his part in the property company's $80 million collapse.
More than 100 charges have been laid against Bryers for alleged breaches of the Companies Act.
They follow a six-month inquiry ordered by the Registrar of Companies.
The national enforcement unit of Companies Office began investigating more than 30 firms connected to Blue Chip last August.
The Weekend Herald understands some charges allege Blue Chip made false or misleading statements to the Registrar of Companies.
Others relate to the lack of financial books and records for Blue Chip companies.
Further charges are likely to be laid against other Blue Chip directors.
Bryers is scheduled to appear in the Auckland District Court on March 27. The Weekend Herald was unable to view the specific allegations, as he has not been served with the court documents.
Companies Office spokeswoman Emilia Mazur confirmed that the charges had been laid, but said no further details could be made public until the documents had been served.
Bryers, 51, is living in Sydney, running a company similar to Blue Chip.
He is due to appear in the Auckland District Court next Friday on charges relating to his management of the luxury Swordfish Lodge resort on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula.
Attempts to contact him in Australia yesterday were unsuccessful.
The charges against him are the fourth prosecution brought in the past year by the Registrar of Companies, Neville Harris, since a string of finance firms were put into liquidation or receivership.
The Companies Office has also laid charges against the directors of failed finance firms Bridgecorp, Five Star Finance and National Finance.
The Serious Fraud Office and Commerce Commission are also investigating Blue Chip.
More than 2000 investors are out of pocket after 22 Blue Chip-related companies owing more than $80 million were put into liquidation last year.
Many investors are retired and face losing their homes.
Paul Dale, an Auckland lawyer acting for many of the investors, said he was not surprised charges had been laid.
He welcomed the prosecution, but called on the Government to bail out those who stood to lose everything because of the Blue Chip collapse.