24 Oct 2009

SFO charge pair over failed finance company

5:51 am on 24 October 2009

The Serious Fraud Office has laid charges against two men over their roles in failed company National Finance 2000 Ltd.

The company provided finance for motor vehicle purchases and collapsed in 2006, owing $21 million.

One of the accused is a director of the company, Allan Ludlow. He faces several charges relating to using investors' money for purposes for which it was not intended.

One charge alleges that Mr Ludlow used $800,000 of investors' money intended for motor vehicle purchases to buy an audio company and property in Fiji.

A second defendant, who has interim name suppression, is charged with wrongly recording details of payments and making false entries in a statement to the company's auditors.

The pair face a joint charge of lending $1.3 million in breach of the company's trust deed.

Both men were granted bail in Auckland District Court on Friday.

Mr Ludlow was remanded until 13 November, while the other accused will next appear in court on 20 November.

Other investigations continue

The Serious Fraud Office has prosecuted one other finance company and is investigating six more.

Of its investigations, the inquiry into Bridgecorp is the closest to completion.

Serious Fraud Office director Grant Liddell says he is not pre-judging the outcome of those investigations, but prosecutions will be taken where there is evidence of wrongdoing.

The office says 30 finance companies have failed in total, costing investors $6 billion.