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SFO lays 60 charges against Belgrave Finance director, associate

Wednesday 14th September 2011

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The Serious Fraud Office is pursuing former Belgrave Finance director Stephen Smith and his associated Raymond Schofield over $18 million of loans between the failed lender and related parties.

The white collar crime investigator laid 60 criminal charges against Smith and Schofield, who appeared in the Auckland District Court today, and a third person who has yet to appear in the dock. The Financial Markets Authority has also laid charges against the three under the Securities Act and the Companies Act.

“Both agencies are acutely aware of the public interest in seeing these cases concluded,” SFO director Adam Feeley said in a statement. “We are committed to working in whatever manner will achieve the best outcome.”

Belgrave called in the receivers in 2008 owing about 1,000 investors some $22 million. The Securities Commission, now the FMA, started the investigation before handing it over to the SFO in June last year.

The charges relate to transactions between June 2005 and March 2008.

The men face up to 10 years imprisonment if found guilty of theft by a person in special relationship and making a false statement as a promoter.

Feeley said the SFO has four remaining investigations into finance companies, including South Canterbury Finance and Hanover Finance, and expects to conclude them “shortly”.

The announcement comes ahead of the FMA’s update into its own investigations into failed finance companies.


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