15 Jul 2011

Pair charged after Lane Walker Rudkin collapse

5:27 am on 15 July 2011

The Serious Fraud Office has laid a number of charges against two people following the collapse of Canterbury clothing manufacturer, Lane Walker Rudkin Industries.

The company was placed into receivership in April 2009. More than 300 jobs were lost in Canterbury, and almost 200 at the company's factories in Wairarapa and Brisbane.

Then-director Kenneth James Anderson, 64, faces 82 charges under the Crimes Act, involving allegations he fabricated financial documents. Some charges relate to loans of nearly $120 million.

He could face up to seven years in prison if convicted.

Another person, who has name suppression, is facing eight charges.

The SFO says the investigation experienced a number of delays due to the Canterbury earthquakes, but the scale of the losses and high level of public interest in the case demanded perseverance.

Acting director Simon McArley says the alleged fraud had a profound effect on the region, as the company employed many people and enjoyed an international reputation.

The National Distribution Union, which represents former employees at Lane Walker Rudkin, says it is not suprised Mr Anderson is facing criminal charges.

NDU secretary Robert Reid says when Lane Walker Rudkin was put into receivership, the union expressed concerns about the way it was run.

Beth Regnault worked at the Wairarapa factory for 30 years before being made redundant in 2009 and is pleased Mr Anderson is facing prosecution, saying he ruined many people's livelihoods.