Capital+Merchant directors in court

NICK KRAUSE
Last updated 11:36 14/05/2012

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A third Capital + Merchant Finance director has been brought into criminal proceedings which resumed in the Auckland High Court today.

Owen Tallentire has joined the group's founding directors Neal Nicholls and Wayne Douglas before the Court, jointly charged by the Serious Fraud Office with three  Crimes Act counts relating to theft by a person in a special relationship.

Nicholls and Tallentire also jointly face one further Crimes Act charge.

Today's proceedings are related to that but are being treated separately from the first trial in which Nicholls and Douglas were charged jointly, again by the SFO, of one count of theft in a relationship and two charges of making a false statement.

The second trial relates to $28m of loans advanced between 2004 and 2006 and arose after the SFO "considered additional matters" that came to light with the investigation of what became known as the Hub property transaction, the basis of the first trial. The SFO alleges trusts controlled by the accused received $15.9m in benefits.

The first trial was for charges of improper use of investor funds for loans of about $14.5 million between April 2002 and September 2004 in two Palmerston North office blocks, Hub West and Hub East - the Hub properties - which were to be converted to student accommodation.

In that first trial in Nicholls and Douglas were charged jointly, again by the SFO, of one count of theft in a relationship and two charges of making a false statement. That trial finished a week ago and Justice Wylie has reserved his decision in that case until this second trial has concluded.

The Crown this morning was outlining its case. The SFO indicated recently that this second trial could last five weeks.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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