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Mutual Finance receivers repay $1.8 mln to government for deposit guarantee

Wednesday 7th September 2011

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Failed lender Mutual Finance has repaid $1.8 million to the government after calling on the retail deposit guarantee, according to the latest receiver’s report.

Receivers Brendon Gibson and Grant Graham of KordaMentha said they have repaid some of the Crown’s funding as at July 13, but didn’t comment on the expected return to secured creditors, which was between 40% and 53% in their previous report. In the period between Jan. 14 and July 13, they clawed back $1.3 million in loan repayments, and distributed $1.2 million to its secured creditor.

Since its failure, all investors who qualified under the government scheme have been repaid by the Treasury, the receivers said.

They haven’t received a claim from the Inland Revenue Department and don’t expect to make a return to an unsecured creditor owed $161,000.

Mutual collapsed in July last year owing some 340 investors about $9.3 million, $9 million of which was covered by the government’s retail deposit guarantee.

The financier’s dealings were looked at by the Serious Fraud Office, which decided not to pursue a prosecution. It instead passed on information to the Financial Markets Authority over its relationship with related failed lender Viaduct Capital. Viaduct called in the receivers in May last year, owing 110 investors some $7.8 million, of which $7.5 million was guaranteed.

Viaduct’s first receiver’s report showed the finance company’s recovery was being hindered by Mutual’s failure.

Mutual had prior ranking over Viaduct’s securities in exchange for further funding in ‘security sharing deeds’. Receivers Boris van Delden and Iain McLennan of McDonald Vague questioned the legality of the transactions.

Viaduct’s second receiver’s report is almost eight months overdue.

Mutual principal Paul Bublitz’s involvement with Viaduct got the firm thrown out of the government’s guarantee scheme last year when the Treasury asserted it failed to comply with rules on related-party lending and didn’t undertake due diligence on loans from Hunter Capital Group.

The firm underwent a makeover under new management, though it retained ties with Bublitz through Mutual, which he was in the process of taking over.

Media-shy Bublitz exited Strategic Finance, a firm he helped found, when it was sold to Allco, and avoided the subsequent fall-out that’s seen it end up in receivership.

Viaduct’s van Delden and McLennan forecast a 28 cents-to-33 cents return in the dollar.


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