Bridgecorp director and accused fraudster Ron Petricevic is arguing in the High Court that he has no money and the taxpayer should foot the bill for his defence.
Mr Petricevic is appealing against a decision by the Legal Services Agency not to grant him legal aid to defend fraud charges relating to the finance company's collapse.
Lawyer Charles Catos says his client, who is bankrupt, simply has no income. He told the Auckland court on Thursday that Mr Petricevic is trying to sell his house, worth about $4 million, but the sale could take some time.
Mr Catos says to deny Mr Petricevic legal aid means he cannot pay for legal representation, and that would be unfair and unreasonable.
But the Legal Services Agency says its not just Mr Petricevic's resources that should be considered - his wife's should be too. These include a late-model Mercedes, a $20,000 investment and trust assets.
Bridgecorp investors are owed at least $450 million.