Many hours of time have been whiled away by mainstream journalists, bloggers and supporters of disgraced businessman Allan Hubbard during 2010 over his dodgy business practices and collapsed empire. As 2010 drew to a close few final conclusions could be drawn from investigations made into South Canterbury Finance, Aorangi Securities and a whole raft of businesses owned by Hubbard and now in receivership, gone bust or in Statutory Management.
What we do know is that Hubbard has been, for the last few years anyway, bending the rules big time when it came to the day to day running of his business interests. Fraud, forgery, endemic related party lending to make the books look good, omissions and padding of paperwork, fake investments and highly risky lending were par for the course.
Interested parties to the Allan Hubbard Saga currently await the outcomes of several investigations into the stubbornly defiant octogenarian. The Serious Fraud Office is waiting for a response from Hubbard's Lawyer Mike Heron on his behalf to a range of possible charges which were outlined prior to Christmas and a 6th Grant Thorton Report on Aorangi Securities Limited, Hubbard Management Funds, Hubbard Churcher Trust Management Limited, Forresters Nominee Company Limited, Mr AJ and Mrs MJ Hubbard and Associated Charitable Trusts is due at the end of February 2011.
The long wait on final decisions on what to charge Hubbard for are primarily due to the complicated nature of Mr Hubbards business empire and the lack of precise, or any, paperwork.
Obfuscation on the part of Hubbard and his lawyer during the investigation has also led to a delay in charging.
As published in the New Zealand Herald today and written by Fran O Sullivan, Hubbard has sent a 2 page memo to Simon Power pleading his case:
The Business Herald understands the SFO has indicated that it had narrowed its investigation to four particular issues - one relates to the failure to issue a prospectus for Aorangi Securities, and, another focuses on statements Hubbard Funds Management made which are alleged to have misled investors.
"I think the charges they are proposing are ridiculous and I cannot see any court of law upholding them," said Hubbard. "I've stolen no money - they're dreaming up charges."Hubbard maintains Aorangi had never traded recklessly, had always paid its interest seven days before due, was not insolvent and had always paid obligations with default during its 36-year history.
"The action taken signalled the death knell for South Canterbury Finance with incoming deposits immediately falling from $2 million weekly to $200,000 per week..."
I agree with Hubbard that the courts may have trouble upholding any possible charges, you just need to recall the history thus far of failed finance company directors who have never been charged or skipped serious charges in the courts over the last year to concur.
Having said that, we know that Mr Hubbard has been less than truthful in his public statements in his own defence. It is crystal clear that there was a rotten core at the middle of his empire and that he was at least partially responsible for the rot. It is quite likely there are others involved but Mr Hubbard was the head banana and he needs to take responsibility for his actions in the coming year.
Allan Hubbard Saga
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c Share Investor 2011