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Rick Bettle exits Powerco as Dominion Finance trial looms

Tuesday 25th June 2013

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Rick Bettle has stepped down as chairman and director of lines company Powerco and business mentoring organisation Business in The Community Limited, ahead of his July trial relating to failed lender Dominion Finance.

Bettle ceased to be a director of Powerco NZ Holdings and a raft of subsidiary companies today, according to documents filed with the Companies Office. Powerco spokesman Neil Holdom said the company had "no comment on the matter".

His exit comes as a Powerco stake is up for grabs with Canada's Brookfield Infrastructure Partners looking to sell its 42 percent holding of the lines company.

Separately, Business Mentors New Zealand Trust said it accepted Bettle's resignation as chairman of Business in The Community Limited.

Last week Bettle resigned from the board of Diligent Board Member Services and he withdrew from re-election at today's annual meeting, without giving a reason.

According to Companies Office filings, he now holds director roles at wood quality researcher WQI, failed lenders Dominion Finance and North South Finance, Betirch Ltd and collapsed home audio equipment firm Eastern Hi Fi Group.

Bettle is scheduled to stand trial in the High Court in Auckland next month, accused of signing off on misleading offer documents to investors in the failed finance companies Dominion Finance and North South Finance. Fellow ex-Dominion directors Vance Arkinstall and Paul Forsyth are also defending the charges. Last week Bettle and Arkinstall applied to be discharged from the case.

Earlier this month former Dominion directors Ann Butler and Robert Whale were sentenced to home detention, having pleaded guilty to Securities Act charges.

Whale and an unnamed associate were found not guilty of fraud charges, though former Dominion boss Paul Cropp was convicted and jailed over related party lending of some $13.6 million, which breached the lenders' trust deed.

Dominion Finance Group had 5,937 debenture holders with $176.9 million invested at the time of receivership in 2008. North South Finance was put in receivership in 2010. Both were subsidiaries of NZX-listed Dominion Finance Holdings, which was placed in liquidation in 2009.

BusinessDesk.co.nz

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