Four businessmen have gone on trial charged with a raft of Financial Markets Authority charges in relation to two finance companies that collapsed, owing investors more than $17 million.
Paul Bublitz and his co-defendants Richard Blackwood, Bruce McKay and Lance Morrison have denied charges of theft by a person in a special relationship, making false statements to a trustee, and false statements by a promoter.
Co-accused Peter Chevin was also charged and on Monday morning pleaded guilty to 10 charges of theft by person in a special relationship. He will be sentenced in September.
Two companies associated with the defendants, Mutual Finance and Viaduct Capital, collapsed in 2010 owing investors $9.3 million and $7.8m respectively.
The judge-alone trial began in the High Court at Auckland on Monday.
Crown prosecutor David Johnstone told Justice Mark Woolford that "the essence" of the Crown case was that Bublitz acquired and used the two finance companies to support his various property investments, and was assisted by his co-accused.
"In the course of Mr Bublitz’s conduct, the Crown submits that the defendants deliberately misled investors and potential investors by failing to disclose a series of related party transactions," Johnstone said.
Bublitz, a former property developer, was described as being left "asset rich but cash poor" following the fallout of the Global Financial Crises in 2007.
His property assets were held in two groups, Hunter Capital and Hunter Property, which had various projects across Auckland including a development at Silverdale, north of Auckland.
Full story by Kelly Dennett published August 8 2016