The case against five people charged with committing New
Zealand's biggest white-collar fraud went back to court this
morning and now all defendants' names are known and a date
was set for the next stage.
The $1.7 billion case against the South Canterbury Finance
defendants was called in Timaru at 10am today but the five
did not arrive in person.
Edward Oral Sullivan and Robert Alexander White, former South
Canterbury Finance directors, did not seek to have name
suppression orders continue. Sullivan, a lawyer, is a founder
of Timaru legal firm RSM Law, previously known as Raymond
They are charged along with former South Canterbury Finance
chief executive Lachie McLeod, Timaru chartered accountant
Terry Hutton and former chief financial officer Graeme Brown.
Interim name suppression had remained in force for Sullivan
and White until today.
All five have denied 21 charges brought against them by the
Serious Fraud Office.
The defendants were today further remanded at large by the
registrar to a nominal date of Monday May 28 at 10am for a
post committal conference.
Statements were released for Sullivan and White.
Sullivan said he had leave from his firm until the matter was
"I acknowledge I am facing charges relating to my role as a
director of South Canterbury Finance Ltd. RSM Law has
accepted my offer to take a leave of absence during the
process which will be reviewed periodically. I am innocent of
these allegations and they will be vigorously defended. I
have nothing to hide but, unfortunately, because of the rules
about discussing matters that are before the Courts I cannot
say anything more other than any wrong doing on my part is
I look forward to vindication and moving on with my life,''
Sullivan's statement said.
Bruce Squire, QC, spoke on behalf of White.
"In line with the other defendants charged Mr Robert White
did not seek to extend the suppression order previously made
by the court in respect of all defendants in respect of the
pending charges against the defendants. Mr White's counsel
Bruce Squire QC of Wellington said that the reasons why
suppression orders were initially granted by the court no
longer applied and as with the other defendants Mr White
believed it was appropriate it be known he is one of the five
"Mr Squire said Mr White was most disappointed to have been
charged with offences arising from the collapse of South
Canterbury Finance. He said Mr White denied he had been
guilty of any criminal conduct or dishonesty and would defend
the charges. He said Mr White looked forward to the trial
when he would have the opportunity to establish his
"Mr Squire added he was concerned about recent statements
made by the director of the Serious Fraud Office to the news
media about the nature and extent of the alleged offending
disclosed by the collapse of South Canterbury Finance.
He said these matters were only allegations still to be
proved and that it was difficult to escape the conclusion the
director's comments, seemed designed to raise the stakes in a
way which might well be likely to be prejudicial to the
defendants right to a fair trial before an impartial jury,''
the statement said.
South Canterbury Finance went into receivership on August 31,
2010 owing about $1.8 billion.
Because the company was in the Crown retail deposit guarantee
scheme, all its losses have been borne by the Crown and
ultimately New Zealand taxpayers.
The 21 charges allege a variety of offences, including theft
by a person in a special relationship, obtaining by
deception, false statements by the promoter of a company and
The total estimated value of allegedly fraudulent
transactions is about $1.7 billion.
- Anne Gibson of NZ Herald