Three men who worked for South Canterbury Finance have pleaded not guilty to 18 fraud charges relating to the company's collapse.
The firm was placed in receivership in 2010, owing $1.6 billion.
The three men, a chief executive and two directors, were remanded on bail at the High Court in Timaru on Tuesday morning.
Charges against former chief financial officer Graeme Brown have been dropped and he has been released.
Mr Brown's lawyer said his client has always denied he was involved in false accounting, and the charges were withdrawn following frank discussions with Crown lawyers.
A fifth man who worked as an accountant for the company will enter his plea at a later date.
The full three-month trial begins in March next year and it is still to be decided whether it will be in front of a jury or just a judge.