12 Apr 2012

Lombard directors appeal convictions

9:51 pm on 12 April 2012

Four directors of failed finance company Lombard Investments have lodged appeals against their convictions.

The Court of Appeal on Thursday confirmed it has received papers from former government ministers Sir Douglas Graham and Bill Jeffries, and Lawrence Bryant and Michael Reeves.

In February, the men were convicted of misleading investors by making false statements in company prospectuses months before Lombard's collapse in 2008 owing $127 million to 4400 investors.

Graham and Bryant were sentenced to 300 hours' community work and ordered to pay $100,000 each in reparation. Jeffries and Reeves were sentenced to 400 hours' community work.

Graham, a former lawyer and justice minister, declined to be interviewed on Thursday, but confirmed that he would be appealing on points of law.

He told Radio New Zealand that people were only interested in whether he would lose his knighthood.

No date has yet been set for a hearing.

Investor not surprised, hopes for civil action

Paul Wah, of Lower Hutt, lost money after investing in Lombard and says the appeals are not unexpected as the the men continue to protest their innocence.

"All we can hope for now is that either the trustees or the receivers or the FMA (Financial Markets Authority) will begin some kind of class action, but what they will recover is likely to be quite small."

Mr Wah says it is galling to hear the former directors talk about their limited financial resources - yet they apparently have money for legal proceedings.

The receiver for Lombard Investments says the appeals will not have any impact on the decision to take civil litigation against the former directors.

John Fisk, of PricewaterhouseCoopers, says he is likely to start proceedings in coming weeks.