25 Mar 2013

Dominion Finance director had 'no reason' to cover up

6:01 pm on 25 March 2013

A court has heard how a former director of two sister finance companies that collapsed in 2008 had no reason to breach the trust deeds and then cover up the offending.

Dominion Finance Group collapsed in 2008 owing $400 million to about 6000 investors.

Barry Whale is accused with the former chief executive of Dominion Finance, Paul Cropp, and another person who has name suppression, of committing theft by a person in a special relationship.

They are on trial at the High Court in Auckland.

Former director Terence Butler is also charged but has terminal cancer and is not standing trial at this time.

Mr Whale's lawyer, Paul Davison, told the court on Monday his client was not aware of any issues arising from the companies' trust deeds because he had never read them, and relied on other managers for information.

He says other directors at the companies had also admitted in evidence that they'd failed to read the trust deeds.

Mr Davison says Mr Whale had nothing to gain from breaking the deeds and seeking to cover it up.

He says Mr Whale tried to do the right thing and should be acquitted.

In his closing address on 21 March, Crown lawyer Brian Dickey told the court related party loans breached the terms of the former finance company's own trust deed.

He said the accused misused investor funds by entering into several unauthorised and highly imprudent transactions.

Mr Dickey said the loans remained hidden for years from most of the directors, trustees, auditors and the investing public.

He said this allowed the company to present a loan book that looked better than it really was.