20 May 2010

Not all finance company collapses criminal, says SFO

7:57 pm on 20 May 2010

The head of the Serious Fraud Office says not all finance company collapses involved criminal behaviour, despite public opinion to the contrary.

The comments come after the SFO laid new charges against Bridgecorp's former managing director Rodney Petricevic and former finance director Robert Roest.

Bridgecorp collapsed in 2007 owing investors more than $450 million.

Some of the fresh charges allege the fraudulent acquisition of a luxury boat using $1.8 million of Bridgecorp funds. Others relate to dishonest payments of $1.2 million, authorised by Mr Petricevic to another business.

SFO director Adam Feeley says the charges bring to an end an exhaustive inquiry, which has been critical for wider investigations into failed finance companies.

He says the SFO has looked into about a dozen of the 30-odd finance companies that have collapsed.

In some of those cases, he says, there was no suggestion of criminality and in others there were "sharp commercial practices", but that is quite different from committing a crime.