26 Mar 2013

Dominion Finance accused 'tried to save' companies

8:56 pm on 26 March 2013

A court has been told a man charged in relation to the collapse of two financial companies tried to save them from ruin during the global financial crisis and never fleeced investors out of greed.

The man, whose name is suppressed, is defending charges of theft by a person in a special relationship alongside a former director at Dominion Finance and North South Finance, Robert Whale (also known as Barry Whale); and former chief executive Paul Cropp.

They have been on trial in the High Court in Auckland.

In closing Malcolm Lloyd, the lawyer for the accused with name suppression, said the case wasn't typical of other financial companies where those in charge took investors' money to fund their lavish lifestyles.

He said his client never authorised the transfer of funds or loans knowing that would breach the trust deeds.

Mr Lloyd told the court the Crown's case was built on hindsight and the evidence as to who actually read those deeds was scant, vague and patchy.

Earlier on Tuesday Mr Cropp's lawyer, John Billington, said while his client was responsible for business transactions he was guilty only of making mistakes, not of any crime.

Mr Billington said his client did not deliberately breach specific obligations under the trust deeds of the companies.

Mr Billington said Mr Cropp admitted during evidence he had stuffed up and made a stupid mistake in relation to a $5 million loan the Crown says breached the trust deed.

A fourth man, former director Terence Butler, is also charged but is too sick to stand trial at this time.

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

The judge will deliver his verdict next month.