Thursday 6th September 2018
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The High Court in Nelson has appointed KordaMentha's Neale Jackson and Grant Graham to liquidate Forestlands companies 2-12 and 14-20.
The Financial Markets Authority sought the court order to bring independence and certainty to the resolution of the companies’ affairs, it said in a release.
The FMA launched a probe last year when it received a number of complaints by Forestlands investors about the group. That regulator sought to restrain $18 million set to be paid to investors, parking it in an interest-bearing trust account until the investigation was completed. The FMA is also investigating the group's failure to file financial statements and has referred some matters to the Serious Fraud Office.
In today's release, the regulator noted its investigation into Forestlands director Rowan Kearns is still ongoing. An SFO investigation into Forestlands NZ Ltd is also open.
KordaMentha was previously tasked by the company's director with developing a way to distribute the proceeds of forestry sales to shareholders, according to the FMA. This meant KordaMentha had to satisfy the court the proposed liquidators were sufficiently independent for the order to proceed.
In its application, KordaMentha said the previous services do not compromise its independence or ability to carry out the role and the proposed liquidators have extensive knowledge of the affairs of the Forestlands entities.
Another company in the group, Forestlands NZ Ltd, was placed in liquidation earlier this week.
Forestlands NZ Ltd is not a financial markets participant and no shares in the company were issued to investors. This meant the FMA was unable to apply to the court to place the company in liquidation.
KordaMentha's Jackson and Graham are also the liquidators of Forestlands NZ.
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