$40 million fraud alleged over Auckland hotel development

The SFO alleges that the defendants conspired to mislead ANZ, says SFO director Julie Read.
MICHAEL BRADLEY

The SFO alleges that the defendants conspired to mislead ANZ, says SFO director Julie Read.

Four people have been accused by the Serious Fraud Office of misleading ANZ into giving them a loan facility of about $40 million.

Property developer Leonard John Ross (50), company director Michael James Wehipeihana (45), self-employed consultant Vaughn Stephen Foster (54) and one other person have been charged by the SFO at the Auckland District Court.

The SFO alleged the defendants made false statements and used forged documents to obtain a credit facility from the ANZ to allow a company, Emily Projects Limited (Emily Projects), to develop the Waldorf Celestion Apartment Hotel in Auckland.

"The SFO alleges that the defendants conspired to mislead ANZ to secure a loan facility," said SFO director Julie Read.

"The banks are entitled to expect that businesses will provide accurate information in support of their loan applications and a failure to do so may have cost implications for all."

They each face four charges of obtaining by deception, and two charges of using forged documents.

Name suppression has been lifted on two of the defendants and was not sought by another. 

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