No parole for Rod Petricevic

KELLY DENNETT
Last updated 16:48 01/08/2014
Rod Petricevic
BRETT PHIBBS/Fairfax NZ
ROD PETRICEVIC: He told the Parole Board that he was "driven to give advice" and had helped prisoners when requested.

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Jailed finance company fraudster Rod Petricevic has been declined parole because he poses an "undue risk to the safety of the community", the Parole Board says.

Petricevic had his first parole hearing two weeks ago and a decision on his release was made public this afternoon.

The report noted his imprisonment had been "stable and unremarkable" and he had a low risk of reoffending.

He told the Parole Board that he was "driven to give advice" and had helped prisoners when requested. 

"While he acknowledges no intention to return to business in the way he did prior to this offending, we cannot rule out the possibility of him providing not only advice but also becoming involved in the management of other people's assets which puts those assets at risk," the report said.

Petricevic had been working in prison and was studying for a New Zealand Law Society legal executive diploma.

He claimed not to have any assets or debts, and told the board he would be reliant on New Zealand superannuation for financial support on release. 

"So far as any future work is concerned, Mr Petricevic has said that he intends to be retired but complete his study and with a Legal Executive Diploma do research work, legal aid work, or work for the Citizens Advice Bureau. He also advised that he may help out with (withheld) property business."

The board noted Petricevic hadn't completed a rehabilitation programme and recommended he composed a comprehensive and credible written release plan for his next hearing.

The Bridgecorp director was convicted in April 2012 on 18 charges of making false statements to trustees and distributing offer documents containing false statements while knowing the company was heavily in debt.

When it was placed into receivership in 2007 Bridgecorp owed $459 million to 14,500 investors whose recovery was estimated to be 10 cents of every dollar.

Many investors were seniors saving for their retirement, with victims describing their loss as "the most depressing period of their lives".

Petricevic maintained his innocence throughout court hearings, but offered to make reparations and told a probation officer he was "truly remorseful".

He pleaded not guilty to all of the charges, but was convicted and sentenced to 6-1/2 years' jail which later had another four months added to it after further charges were brought by the Serious Fraud Office for fraudulently buying and financing of a luxury yacht.

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Petricevic's co-directors, Robert Roest, Bruce Davidson, Gary Urwin and Peter Steigrad were also found guilty of misleading investors and had a variety of sentences imposed from home detention to two years' jail.

Roest and Petricevic are the only two Bridgecorp directors still in in prison, but Roest is due to be considered for parole this month after serving two years of his sentence.

Petricevic was one of the most high profile of jailed directors from a raft of finance companies including Capital + Merchant and Nathans which collapsed in 2006, wiping out billions of investor deposits.

Fellow finance company villain, Capital + Merchant director Owen Tallentire, was paroled last week after he was jailed in 2012 for making untrue statements in company offers.

The Parole Board said he was a "model prisoner" who'd coped well in jail.

A Parole Board spokesperson refused to release any further detail about Petricevic's hearing.

Petricevic was originally sent to Mt Eden prison, but it was speculated when he was sentenced that he would be transferred to the low-security Spring Hill Correctional Facility in northern Waikato, known by inmates as the "country club" because of its pleasant facilities.

The Department of Corrections wouldn't confirm where he was being held.

Petricevic's son, Tony, said he hadn't heard anything about his father appearing before the Parole Board.
He said he hadn't kept in touch with his father and would not comment further, saying it was a private matter for the family.

- Stuff

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