Adviser charged over Belgrave collapse

Last updated 10:49 30/11/2012

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An alleged accomplice to fraud at Belgrave Finance has appeared in the Auckland District Court this morning.

Hugh Edward Staples Hamilton is facing 19 charges under the Crimes Act including theft by a person in a special relationship, false statements by a promoter and making false statements to a trustee.

Hamilton has been charged in a joint prosecution brought by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the Financial Markets Authority (FMA).

The 61-year-old was a legal advisor to Belgrave directors Shane Buckley and Stephen Smith.

Buckley was convicted on 19 charges of theft by person in a special relationship and four charges of false statement by a promoter laid under the Crimes Act. He was also convicted on representative charges brought by the FMA under the Securities Act and the Companies Act.

Smith and an associate were committed for trial on similar charges. The trial date is set for April next year.

The SFO and FMA now allege that ‘‘Hamilton is an accomplice to the substantive fraudulent representations and use of the Belgrave investors’ funds’’.  

The fraud office alleges that between June 2005 and March 2008 more than $18 million of Belgrave investors’ funds was used to make related party loans, and, in doing so, they misrepresented to investors how their funds would be used.

‘‘We believe that it is important to explore the culpability of all involved with financial crime. Professional advisers are not exempt and where we believe they have been complicit in offending, we will seek to bring those individuals to account,’’ SFO acting boss Simon McArley said.

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