Former Hanover Finance bosses Eric Watson and Mark Hotchin
have won a significant victory in their legal battles.
It is understood the New Zealand Shareholders Association has
paid a six-figure settlement to end defamation action against
Watson and Hotchin have been pursuing the association and
former chairman Bruce Sheppard since 2009, over comments made
Neither side would confirm settlement yesterday, but Watson
and Hotchin are continuing to pursue Sheppard over the
statements he made after the Hanover collapse.
The High Court heard last September that Sheppard waged a
strongly-worded campaign in television and radio interviews,
in emails to MPs and ministers, and on his blog.
Watson said he was unable to comment.
"I'm bound by confidentiality. But no one should tolerate
being the subject of public statements that are so blatantly
"The damage caused by Sheppard's false and defamatory
statements justifies the need to pursue the action we have
Watson said they would pursue Sheppard "because of the
severity of the statements he made and the extent of the
Shareholders Association chairman John Hawkins said he was
unable to comment but a statement would be released tomorrow.
Sheppard did not return calls.
About 16,000 investors lost more than $500 million after the
collapse of Hanover and the sale of assets to Allied Farmers.
Meanwhile, Watson and Hotchin are expecting to hear soon
whether the Serious Fraud Office plans to prosecute them.
The decision rests solely with SFO acting chief executive
Simon McArley, who said he would spend most of this weekend
reviewing the file.
Hotchin is a former director of Hanover, and Watson is
referred to as a promoter.
- by Bevan Hurley of the Herald on Sunday/Additional
reporting Abby Gillies