Judge grants bankruptcy discharge

Last updated 05:00 08/02/2014

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Former Auckland property developer Jamie Peters has been discharged from bankruptcy by the High Court.

Peters was adjudicated bankrupt in 2009 with debts of more than $180 million and was due to be discharged in October 2012.

He is a cousin of NZ First leader Winston Peters.

The Official Assignee (OA) had sought to extend the bankruptcy for another three years to October 19, 2015, after it was discovered Peters had access to large amounts of money through friends, former business partners and his wife.

Peters earlier admitted receiving about $150,000 from Michael Skates, a former used-car salesman and director of several of Peters' former companies, which was initially not declared.

He used the money for living expenses and an $18,000 diamond ring for his then-fiancee.

Peters responded to the bid for an extension with an application for discharge. While the OA opposed the application, none of Peters' creditors did.

The OA argued that Peters had displayed a lack of concern for the financial interests of others, had continued to conduct business through several entities nominally controlled by others, and had failed to cooperate fully.

Peters contended that the OA was motivated primarily by a desire to punish him, but there was no basis for maintaining the bankruptcy.

In his decision made public yesterday, Associate Judge David Abbot said the OA had relied on largely circumstantial evidence to support its bid for an extension to Peters' bankruptcy.

"On the evidence before the court, I am not persuaded that there is sufficient reason to impose any further sanction, nor that discharge now will create an unmanageable risk to the business community."

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- BusinessDay

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