The Securities Commission has laid criminal charges against the directors of the failed finance firm Capital & Merchant Finance Ltd.
Both criminal charges and civil proceedings have been laid against Neal Nicholls, Owen Tallentire, Colin Ryan and Robert Sutherland.
Criminal charges have also been laid against Wayne Douglas, who resigned as a director in February 2007.
The firm was put into receivership in 2007 owing about $190 million to some 7000 investors. Receivers say they are unlikely to get any money back.
Commission chairperson Jane Diplock says the commission believes the company's offer documents and advertisements misled investors, especially in relation to related party lending.
A spokesperson for the investor lobby group Exposing Unacceptable Financial Advice, Gray Eatwell, says it is disappointed in the time it has taken the commission to take action.