New Zealand Shareholders’ Association Chairman John Hawkins has welcome the 6.5 year
sentence handed down to former Bridgecorp MD Rod Petricevic this morning.
Hawkins said the Association was pleased the court had taken a much harder line in this
case “where there was clear knowledge and cynical disregard for the rights and obligations
Hawkins said the sentence showed the courts were not going soft on people who knowingly and
recklessly disregarded the law. He added that this offending was in a different league to some
other recent cases, and was not only deliberate, but extended over a period of time. We expect
there may be a few other people facing charges who are fairly nervous about the outcome of
this, he said.
The NZSA gave its 2011 Golden Glob Award for appalling corporate governance to Petricevic
but had to hold back from making this public as we did not want to interfere with the judicial
process, said Hawkins. The proceedings and today’s sentence demonstrates just how richly this
odious honour was deserved.
The pity for investors is that none of the proceedings are likely to return
any money, as it has
been siphoned off into trusts where it is beyond the reach of creditors or the law, said Hawkins.
We think there needs to be a re-think around this issue so that those who do the time don’t
ultimately benefit from the crime, he added.
Mr Hawkins said that the new Financial Markets Conduct Bill currently before Parliament
tightens up the regulations and has a range of larger penalties available. Although the emphasis
is on civil action and compensation, egregious offences such as the Bridgecorp case will still be
liable for criminal conviction and 10 years in jail, he said.
Petricevic will be back in court later this year to face Crimes Act charges relating to Bridgecorp
funds allegedly used for the purchase of a large launch, and advanced to another company.
These charges have been brought by the Serious Fraud Office.
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