Monday 20th June 2011 2 Comments
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The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) today announced that it has made a decision in relation to its investigation into the affairs of Aorangi Securities Ltd (ASL); Hubbard Management Funds (HMF); and ASL directors Allan and Margaret (Jean) Hubbard.
SFO Chief Executive, Adam Feeley, said, “After an exhaustive investigation, we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence to lay fraud charges against Mr Hubbard.”
Feeley said that fifty charges under sections 220, 242 and 260 of the Crimes Act had been laid today in the District Court in Timaru.
The SFO said it did not intend to lay charges against any other current or former director of ASL. Nor were any other charges being contemplated by the other agencies involved with the investigations into ASL or HMF.
Feeley said that the investigation had relied on assistance from the Securities Commission (and now the FMA) and the Registrar of Companies.
“We need to acknowledge the contribution from others to what has been a very thorough and professional investigation.”
Financial Markets Authority (FMA), Chief Executive Sean Hughes, said the FMA and the SFO have worked together closely throughout this investigation, and the evidence on which the charges laid by the SFO are based could also give rise to charges by the FMA under section 59 of the Securities Act.
However after careful consideration, both organisations are satisfied that the charges laid by the SFO will address this matter in a way that is proportionate, and that this matter is more appropriately prosecuted by the SFO under the Crimes Act, without expenditure of additional public funds on a separate prosecution by the FMA.
“The FMA has therefore closed its investigation into this matter, and has offered the SFO any ongoing assistance which may be required,” Hughes said.
Feeley said that there were aspects of the case which challenged the conventional concepts of serious fraud.
“Whatever the public may think, in considering whether serious fraud has been committed, the motives or lifestyle of an alleged offender are ultimately irrelevant. We have to consider matters such as whether deceit has occurred; the losses caused by that that deceit; and whether the facts meet the prescribed elements of one or more criminal offences.”
Feeley said that prior to making a decision to lay charges the SFO gave very careful consideration to the Solicitor General’s Prosecution Guidelines, including the issue of whether a prosecution was in the public interest.
“The decision to charge has been reached only after extensive analysis of the evidence, as well as discussions with senior prosecution counsel, including the Crown Solicitors and the SFO Panel Counsel,” he said.
“Throughout the investigation we have been aware of the level of public interest in, and support for, Hubbard, and the issues of Mr Hubbard’s age and health which have been raised by his lawyers.”
“However, we also have to consider the interests of justice and the interests of the investors relative to the evidence we have obtained during our inquiries.”
“We are satisfied that, on balance, there is strong public interest in having this matter put before the Court, and any issues regarding fitness to stand trial will be matters for the Court to adjudicate on.”
- SFO press release
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