Shock at delay of $60m hearing
Anger has been expressed at news the hearing to determine who owns $60 million of assets in Hubbard investments has been delayed until next year.
The case, which affects 400 mainly South Canterbury investors, was to have been heard in the High Court at Timaru on October 29, but was yesterday adjourned by Judge Lester Chisholm until May 20.
Jean Hubbard is fighting for control of $60 million worth of assets originally promised by her late husband Allan to investors in Aorangi Securities.
"I have reluctantly decided to adjourn the fixture, " Judge Chisholm advised.
His decision said that the statutory managers of Aorangi, Grant Thornton, requested the adjournment to complete "necessary legal and financial analysis" of the 5000 documents filed in relation to the hearing.
Mrs Hubbard's lawyer, Andrew Butler, has raised concerns about her health and was concerned she may not be fit for cross examination by May 2013.
Investor spokesman and Fairlie farmer Noel Macpherson was appalled at the delay and suggested Grant Thornton were using delaying tactics.
"This is complete rubbish, they have had all the documents for 2 years and known about the court case for a long time. Questions need to be asked."
Investors were desperate for money, he said, and were looking to the hearing for direction.
"It is unacceptable, I don't know how they can sleep at night given what they are putting elderly investors through."
He agreed Mrs Hubbard's health was a concern. "Anyone of that age is vulnerable."
The additional time was required as 70 boxes and 100 files of Aorangi-related material had recently been found in storage, and it was not possible for all the lawyers to assess their relevance to the case, the statutory managers said last night.
"This hearing had been expected to be heard in 2013, but a postponement brought it forward to October 29, 2012.
"Although disappointing to be reverting back to a 2013 hearing date, this adjournment is most important to ensure the right result for all involved."
The court delay comes more than two years after the saga began, on June 20, 2010, when Mr and Mrs Hubbard, and their investment entities Aorangi Securities and Hubbard Management Funds, plus seven charitable trusts, were put in statutory management by the Government.
It followed Mr Hubbard placing $60m worth of assets into charitable trusts for the benefit of Aorangi investors to raise the capital to meet the request of the Securities Commission to issue a prospectus. This and other transactions led to the couple being placed in statutory management.
The appointed statutory managers from Grant Thornton reversed the transactions, putting the $60m back in the Hubbards' control, and the statutory managers are now having to fight in court to get it back for the benefit of investors. Mr Hubbard died in a car crash in September last year.
- The Timaru Herald