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Commerce Commission's restricts Curtin's role after private legal proceedings filed

Tuesday 9th March 2010

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Donal Curtin’s role at the Commerce Commission has been restricted, to prevent any conflict of interest after further private party court proceedings were filed against him.

The legal proceedings, issued recently and last year in the Auckland High Court, relate to Curtin’s former role as a consultant to defunct advisory firm Vestar Financial Services.

“Until all of the proceedings are resolved, Curtin has been allocated to tasks that do not involve him in decision-making related to enforcement actions under either the Fair Trading Act or Credit Contracts or Consumer Finance Act,” the Commission said in a statement.

Curtin became a member of the Commission in November 2002 and was deputy chairman between July 2008 and March 2009 before resigning that role, but continuing as a full commissioner. In September 2008 the Commission announced an inquiry into whether Curtin provided an adequate level of disclosure in relation to his involvement with finance and investment companies Vestar, Mint Asset Management and MFS.

Disclosure of conflicts of interest by members of Crown entities is required under the Crown Entities Act 2004, and the Commission appointed Hugh Rennie QC to conduct the inquiry. Rennie’s brief was to investigate the facts surrounding the issue of disclosure, and his report back in November 2008 concluded that while some required disclosures were not made, there was no evidence that the failure to make these was intentional. Curtin made it clear to Rennie that he sought to comply and believed he had complied with disclosure of interest.

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