Former Bridgecorp board member Peter Steigrad has succeeded
in throwing out a High Court declaration blocking him and two
other of the failed finance company's directors from
accessing an insurance policy worth up to $20 million.
Steigrad was convicted in April of making untrue statements
in Bridgecorp's offer documents, and in May was ordered to
complete nine months of home detention, 200 hours of
community work and pay $350,000 in reparations.
Before this trial, in which he found guilty of six Securities
Act charges, Steigrad and two other Bridgecorp directors went
to the High Court in a dispute over access to a directors'
and officers' insurance policy that has a limit of $20m.
The policy, taken out with QBE Insurance, indemnifies the men
against liability they might incur as a result of their
actions as directors. It also provides cover for costs they
might incur in defending proceedings that seeks to establish
The High Court stoush over the insurance involved the
receivers of the collapsed Bridgecorp companies claiming they
had a "charge"over the money payable in the policy for the
amount they intended to claim from the directors in civil
After hearing the case, the High Court's Justice Graham Lang
ruled last year the charge applied to the money, which then
prevented Steigrad and fellow directors Bruce Davidson and
Gary Urwin from having access to the insurance money.
The receivers have since filed a civil claim against
Steigrad, Davidson and Urwin for $442m for an alleged "breach
Steigrad then went on to appeal the insurance decision in
September, which was allowed today by Justices Mark O'Regan,
Terence Arnold and Rhys Harrison.
"The declaration made by the High Court is quashed," the
Court of Appeal Justices said this morning.
While this decision plays in the Bridgecorp directors'
favour, it doesn't necessarily mean the trio have access to
the insurance policy.
Davidson's lawyer, Colin Carruthers QC, said this morning
there was "still an issue"between the directors and QBE.
- Hamish Fletcher of the NZ Herald