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Crown Asset Management discontinues South Canterbury Finance claim

Thursday 18th December 2014

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Crown Asset Management, the government entity set up to wind down the remaining assets of finance companies that called on the retail deposit guarantee, has discontinued its civil claim against the former directors of South Canterbury Finance, but isn't saying whether it has settled with the former officers.

Created to manage the assets of a clutch of failing finance companies in 2008, CAML filed a civil claim against former director Stuart Nattrass, Ed Sullivan, Bob White and Jean Hubbard as the executrix of her late husband Allan Hubbard's estate in the High Court in Christchurch, with Vero Liability Insurance a third party to the proceedings, but has since ended the claim. General manager Sharon Burleigh confirmed the claim had been discontinued and that there weren't any others still out there, but declined to comment on whether the agency had reached a settlement with the parties.

Sullivan was this week sentenced to 12 months’ home detention and 400 hours’ community work from five charges involving related party lending that should have been disclosed. Sullivan and his co-accused, former chief executive Lachie McLeod and White, were acquitted of the major charges pursued by the Serious Fraud Office, involving SCF’s inclusion in the government retail deposit guarantee scheme, which saw taxpayers stump up $1.58 billion to cover depositors.

In his sentencing, Justice Paul Heath, who heard the trial, said the Crown didn't seek reparation as an independent sentence against Sullivan, and that "the information available to me suggests that you have settled one civil claim against you for a substantial sum of money."

The Financial Markets Authority yesterday decided against pursuing a civil claim against the SCF directors and officers, saying it couldn't justify the cost of doing so with CAML's claim the best avenue for any recovery and the majority of investors already covered by the deposit guarantee.


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