SFO charges 'quite a relief'

MATT NIPPERT
Last updated 16:22 29/05/2013

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The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has charged media buyer Glenda Wynyard with siphoning $2.4 million due to clients.

Wynyard was director and owner of collapsed media placement and public relations agency The Media Counsel.

The company employed 24 people when it collapsed in April 2010, owing $2.5m to creditors.

Wynyard, 48, was charged in the Auckland District Court today with 19 counts of causing loss by deception and four of dishonestly using a document.

The prosecution followed a complaint from Media Counsel liquidator McDonald Vague, which had blamed Wynyard for the agency's collapse.

"The reason for the company's failure lies solely with the director's action of removing funds from the company to fund her lifestyle," the reports concluded.

The SFO alleges Wynyard entered into a debt-factoring agreement with Marac Finance in 2008 and later redirected $2.4m of invoice payments due to Media Counsel client Aegis Media New Zealand to repay the Marac debt.

Acting SFO chief executive Simon McArley said: "Financial crime inevitably results in an increase in the cost of doing business. SFO is working hard to remove these costs from our economy and support a stronger and more confident business environment."

Wynyard was bankrupted in August 2010, and had been working and living in Sydney from February 2011.

She returned to New Zealand this week to face charges.

In a statement, Wynyard said she had co-operated with the SFO investigation, as well as parallel probes by Inland Revenue and the Official Assignee.

She described the laying of charges as "actually quite a relief".

"The rigorous investigation into my personal and professional conduct by so many different organisations [has] been a harrowing experience.

"I can finally see that there will be an end to the battles I have had over the past three to four years."

Wynyard has been remanded to reappear on June 19.

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