20 Jun 2011

SFO charges Hubbard with fraud

7:27 pm on 20 June 2011

The Serious Fraud Office says the charges it has laid against Timaru businessman Allan Hubbard allege the theft of millions of dollars.

The office laid 50 fraud charges against Mr Hubbard in Timaru District Court on Monday after a year-long investigation into Aorangi Securities and Hubbard Management Funds.

The charges allege theft by a person in a special relationship, false accounting, and false statements

Some of the charges carry a maximum prison term of 10 years.

SFO director Adam Feeley told Checkpoint the action is the result of an exhaustive investigation and the decision to charge Mr Hubbard has not been taken lightly.

Mr Feeley says the charges allege serious criminal offending and are not about sloppy book keeping.

Mr Feeley says typically with a prosecution of this kind it will be many months before it goes to court.

The Government announced 12 months ago it was placing Mr Hubbard and his wife Jean, seven charitable trusts, and Aorangi Securities under statutory management.

The office says it will not be laying charges against any other directors of Aorangi Securities.

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) has confirmed it has closed its own investigation into Alan Hubbard's business dealings, saying it prefers the matter to be dealt with under the Crimes Act by the courts.

FMA chief executive Sean Hughes says the evidence used by the SFO could possibly give rise to Securities Act charges, but a decision has been made to leave the matter with the SFO, and the Crimes Act.

Mr Hughes says the FMA has now closed its investigation into Alan Hubbard.

The investigation into the Hubbards began after the former Securities Commission received a complaint from an anonymous investor that Aorangi had received funds without issuing a prospectus.

More than 400 investors and about $130 million were involved in Aorangi Securities, and the trusts controlled by Alan Hubbard.

Mr Hubbard's lawyer says he will file an application to stop the prosecution.

He says Mr Hubbard strenuously denies the charges.

Support for Hubbard

The Hubbard Support Team, one of those set up to support Mr Hubbard, says the charges are not proof of wrongdoing.

The group says it has always held serious concerns about the government's decision to place Mr Hubbard and his wife into statutory management, and about the subsequent investigations into his business dealings.

The group says it says it has commissioned its own investigator, who will release an initial report within days.

A securities lawyer says the SFO will have to prove that Mr Hubbard knew what he was doing was wrong.

Lawyer Steven Franks says regardless of the outcome there will be those who feel the charges should not have been laid.