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Petricevic pleads guilty to SFO charges

MATT NIPPERT
Last updated 14:52 18/07/2012
Rod Petricevic sentencing
SENTENCING: Rod Petricevic has had four months added to his current jail term.

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Disgraced Bridgecorp boss Rodney Petricevic will serve an extra four months in prison after he pleaded guilty to stealing $1.8 million of company funds to buy a luxury launch.

Petricevic, wearing a dark jacket and open-necked business shirt, appeared in the Auckland District Court today to plead guilty to four charges brought by the Serious Fraud Office.

The charges of theft, use of a document for pecuniary gain and two of making false statements to Bridgecorp's trustee Covenant Trustees, relate to the March 2002 purchase of the 19m launch Medici.

Judge Philippa Cunningham said in her sentencing notes that the purchase of the boat - and withholding information about its financing from investors - justified an additional sentence of four months.

"It seems to me that openness in company dealings is something that the public, who are potential investors, are entitled to know," the judge said.

Four other charges brought against Petricevic, concerning payments by Bridgecorp to Panmure spray-tanner Janita Wright, were dropped at today's hearing.

He was sentenced to four months in prison to be served on top of his current jail term.

In April Petricevic was imprisoned for six-and-a-half years following a four-month trial on charges of misleading Bridgecorp investors. Those charges were brought by the Financial Markets Authority.

Petricevic's co-accused, Bridgecorp accountant Robert Roest, is still facing five SFO charges over the Medici and his trial is scheduled to begin on September 24.

SFO chief executive Adam Feeley welcomed the guilty plea and said despite the relatively short  sentence his office was bound to prosecute the case because of public interest surrounding Bridgecorp.

"We understood that conviction on the additional charges may bring little solace of investors, but offending of the scale cannot be ignored," he said.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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