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Court of Appeal leaves Hotchin assets frozen

Friday 20th April 2012

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The Court of Appeal has rejected an attempt by former Hanover Finance boss Mark Hotchin to replace the court-ordered freeze on his personal assets with less onerous “formal undertakings.”

Financial Markets Authority head Sean Hughes welcomed the decision upholding a High Court rejection last September of Hotchin’s bid to have preservation orders on his assets revoked.

“These orders are important for enabling the FMA to preserve assets for aggrieved investors pending the outcome of the civil proceedings filed by FMA last month,” said Hughes.

High Court judge Helen Winkelman ruled against replacing the preservation orders, saying undertakings “provide a less satisfactory protection for aggrieved persons” without alleviating the difficulty Hotchin said he was having making an income to support his family.

Those assets include a mansion in Auckland’s Paritai Drive, which the appeal court heard last month would be completed for a total cost of $43 million.

Counsel for Hotchin noted the Australian courts were willing to accept undertakings even in criminal cases, and that Hotchin had fully cooperated with the legal process to date.

It also emerged in the appeal hearing that Hotchin is willing to allow the FMA a claim on future income and assets, if he could keep a specified portion that would allow him to “provide for his family.”

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