Focus on finances of Jamie Peters' fiancee

WILLIAM MACE
Last updated 17:22 12/06/2013
Jamie Peters
Bankrupt property developer Jamie Peters’ affairs are coming under closer scrutiny.

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The fiancee of former rich-list property developer Jamie Peters was given $62,000 to pay the costs and expenses of a round-the-world trip the pair took just seven months after Peters was declared bankrupt.

Peters is undergoing a "public examination" hearing in the High Court at Auckland after the Official Assignee applied to challenge his automatic discharge from three years of bankruptcy.

He was adjudicated bankrupt in October 2009 with debts of more than $180 million, but has been accused of having money "salted away".

According to a 2010 media report, the six-week trip took in Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Bahamas and Cuba, as well as destinations mentioned in court as Hong Kong and China.

The funds were another example of money forwarded to either Peters or his fiancee by their friend and business associate Michael Skates, or companies under his control.

Peters' access to large amounts of money through friends, former business partners and his wife has been at the centre of a three-day questioning of Peters by a lawyer for the Official Assignee (OA) in the High Court at Auckland.

Under bankruptcy, Peters was required to declare all his income to the OA and was prohibited from travelling unless given permission.

He was given permission to travel because his fiancee was paying for the trip, but OA lawyer Gareth Neil asked Peters in court whether his now wife's income was sufficient to pay for such a holiday.

He acknowledged that it wasn't.

Neil said it was implausible then that Peters did not know how the trip would be paid for until three weeks beforehand when $35,000 was placed into the account of his wife, Rebecca Burton, by Starline Utilities Limited.

Starline was owned by Skates who bought the company from Peters several months before his bankruptcy.

Peters said he had no involvement in soliciting the funds for the trip from Skates.

Peters has also admitted receiving around $150,000 from Skates through a friend's eftpos account, which was initially not declared to the OA.

The hearing continues on Friday and may run into next week.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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