Roest jalied for six-and-a-half years

09:20, May 18 2012
Rob Roest
ROB ROEST: Ex Bridgecorp director was sentenced in the High Court after being convicted on 18 Crimes and Securities Act charges.

A "tiring" case came to a close this morning with former Bridgecorp director Rob Roest sentenced to six and a half years in prison following his conviction on Crimes and Securities Act charges last month.

Fellow former director Peter Steigrad received a sentence of nine months' home detention and was ordered to complete 200 hours of community services and pay $350,000 in reparation.

Crown prosecutor Brian Dickey said outside the court that he was pleased to see the lengthy case draw to an end.

"We're not going to get much money back for investors by it but at least we might've got something for them by the results we've achieved," Dickey said.

"It's been years actually and it's been very tiring for a lot of people at the FMA and in the prosecution, and for a whole lot of people, so it'll be nice to move on."

Bridgecorp collapsed in July 2007 owing $490 million to 14,500 investors. They are expected to receive back less than 10 cents in the dollar.

In the Auckland High Court this morning Justice Geoffrey Venning repeated much of his sentiment from Bridgecorp managing director Rod Petricevic's sentencing hearing last month, including a victim impact statement from a 79 year-old investor who lost $250,000 in Bridgecorp's collapse.

Like Petricevic, Roest had not shown genuine remorse because he had not admitted to doing anything wrong, said Justice Venning.

The judge handed Roest the same sentence as Petricevic received, even though Roest's mitigating factors only allowed for a 10 per cent discount from a starting point of 7 and a half years.

Petricevic had been allowed a "modest discount" because he had been assaulted and threatened by members of the public, but Roest had not experienced the same treatment.

Dickey said it was fair to give the men the same sentence.

He said some investors had contacted him personally to thank the prosecution and the Financial Markets Authority for the results they had achieved.

Another convicted director Gary Urwin who was initially thought to be appealing his two year prison sentence has since dropped his appeal.

Steigrad will begin serving his home detention on Monday at a New Zealand address but has been allowed to visit his home in Australia before then if he wishes.

"It's a pretty stern sentence for him. It has to be served in New Zealand and that does cause particular hardship for that particular prisoner because of circumstances in Australia which were mentioned by the judge," Dickey said.

Those circumstances relate to the health of Steigrad's wife.

Steigrad, who was convicted on only six charges, was also given discounts for his genuine remorse and his offer of $350,000 reparations.

He was deemed the least culpable of all five directors.

Former chairman Bruce Davidson, who pleaded guilty early, was sentenced last October to nine months of home detention, 200 hours of community work, and to make payment of $500,000 reparation.

Roest and Petricevic will be back in court in September to face Serious Fraud Office charges over the Bridgecorp collapse.