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Liquidators freeze Hansa director's assets as new Ponzi scheme alleged

Friday 27th January 2017

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The liquidators of investment management company Hansa say they have frozen the assets of director Paul Hibbs after initial investigations showed it appeared to have been run as a Ponzi scheme.

The Financial Markets Authority and the Serious Fraud Office launched an investigation into Hibbs and Hansa in July last year but haven't commented on their findings. Hansa was placed in liquidation last November.

In their first report, liquidators Steve Khov and Damien Grant of Waterstone Insolvency didn't quantify Hansa's assets or liabilities, although some media reports put the missing investor funds at $20 million. Hansa, which was incorporated in 2005, last filed an annual return in August 2015. Hibbs is listed as the sole shareholder and director.

"The liquidators' initial investigations indicate the company failed to invest and manage funds in accordance with the investment agreements signed with the investors," they said in the report. "Instead, the company appears to have been run as a Ponzi scheme under which investors' funds appear to have been misappropriated."

The liquidators said a number of related entities, including Cameron Gladstone Investments, "are similarly involved in fraud". Waterstone's Khov and Grant said they have taken steps "to freeze the related entities and the personal assets" of Hibbs.

Hibbs is the majority shareholder and sole director of Cameron Gladstone. Other shareholders include Lisa Hibbs, listed as living at the same Christchurch address.

The liquidation would focus on identifying the company assets and recovering any misappropriated funds, and whether there was any trading while insolvent.

The report lists known creditors, including the Inland Revenue Department and various individuals and family trusts.

In a 2010 High Court judgment relating to Cabellos Holdings, in which Hibbs is sole director and which was in receivership between 2007 and 2013, Hibbs was described as an investment manager and the director of a private investment company through which wealthy investors participated in business ventures.

 

BusinessDesk.co.nz

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