17 Jan 2013

SFO prosecutes precious metals trader

5:02 am on 17 January 2013

The head of a high-profile precious metals trading company that collapsed in 2012 owing investors $2.5 million has been charged with fraud.

The Serious Fraud Office is laying 29 criminal charges against Kairuaiti Tangata Oropai Robert Kairua, 53, a director of Grace Holdings NZ, under the Crimes Act of theft by a person in special relationship and providing false statements.

He was trading under the name BullionBuyer.

The Serious Fraud Office alleges that Mr Kairua made false statements about the company and himself to solicit investors, and investors' funds were applied for purposes other than those promoted.

It also alleges that he misapplied a total of over $400,000, with the company claiming to hold investor funds of about $4 million.

SFO acting chief executive Simon McArley says this is the latest in a string of cases involving investment advisers and the application and reporting of the investment funds they have received.