NZ court will judge Kiwi's liability in $11m fraud claim

17:00, Aug 08 2014

Charges against a "catch me if you can" New Zealander who has vanished after allegedly embezzling more than $11 million from his former American employers will be heard in the High Court here.

New Zealand citizen Jason Dean faces civil claims, by Californian marketing materials maker Americhip, of skimming contracts for nearly a decade.

Americhip has also claimed that Dean, who was responsible for a large part of its business in China from 2003-12, used this money to buy a $2m mansion in Auckland.

Dean is yet to respond to the allegations, claiming the New Zealand courts do not have jurisdiction.

Earlier this year he successfully argued this before Justice Ellis, with the alleged fraud taking place mostly in China and the United States. However, the Court of Appeal yesterday allowed an appeal which will enable Americhip to seek summary judgment against Dean in the High Court.

Americhip's lawyer, David Goddard, QC, said the issue was essentially a practical assessment of where the best place was to hear the allegations. The New Zealand courts were the only place where ownership of the mansion could be established and any relief found, meaning it was logical to hear the case here.

Justice Harrison said Dean appeared to be playing "catch me if you can". Fairfax NZ