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Hubbard supporters 'thrilled' charges laid

Tuesday 21st June 2011

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Supporters of Allan Hubbard are "thrilled" the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has laid fraud charges against the Timaru businessman.

Having the matter before the courts put it on a level playing field, said Paul Carruthers, a spokesman for Mr Hubbard's supporters.

Yesterday the SFO announced Mr Hubbard had been charged with 50 counts of fraud.

The charges, which were laid in Timaru District Court, come a year after Hubbard, 82, his wife Jean, their companies Aorangi Securities and Hubbard Management Funds, and seven charitable trusts were placed in statutory management by the Government.

Aorangi Securities owes investors $96 million, while the latest report from statutory managers said there was a shortfall of $31 million in Hubbard Management Funds.

The SFO said no other directors or officers of the company - including Mrs Hubbard - would be prosecuted, and that securities regulators would not take proceedings separately to the criminal prosecutions.

Carruthers today said no one was surprised the charges had been laid.

The Government and SFO had put themselves under 12 months of pressure having to prove the claims made about Hubbard.

The SFO had changed the nature of what they threatened to charge Hubbard with several times, Carruthers told Radio NZ today.

SFO chief executive Adam Feeley said outside legal counsel had been involved in making the decision to prosecute.

While the SFO could understand the reaction from supporters of Hubbard, "it doesn't change the fact that we saw evidence in front of us which effectively demanded these charges be laid. The evidence was quite clear", Feeley said.

A variety of factors could have been considered in favour of not laying charges, but equally the position of trust, the scale and the volume of offences, weighed differently.

"On balance, we felt the public interest demanded the charges be laid. Ultimately, of course, the decision around guilt or innocence is not ours, that's the court's," Feeley said.



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