Sir Douglas Graham. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Disgraced former finance company boss Sir Douglas Graham
will retain his knighthood, the Prime Minister has announced.
Graham was among four Lombard Finance directors convicted of
making false statements in a company prospectus.
Last week they lost a bid to have the Supreme Court hear an
appeal against their convictions, however they were allowed
to challenge their sentences.
"Now that Sir Douglas has exhausted his legal options to
appeal his conviction, it is appropriate that I make a
decision on the matter of his knighthood," John Key said
"I have given this matter a lot of thought in the period
since it first went to court in 2011.
"I took into account the ongoing financial hardship that many
Lombard investors suffered as a result of the company's
collapse. Many people through no fault of their own have lost
some, or all of their future financial security and that is
an awful position to be placed in," Mr Key said.
In deciding that Graham should retain his knighthood, Mr Key
said he was persuaded by three key factors.
"First, Sir Douglas received his knighthood for his
leadership role in treaty settlements.
"Second, Sir Douglas was convicted of a strict liability
offence, where dishonest or criminal intent is not required
Mr Key noted the High Court found that Graham and the other
defendants acted honestly at all times, genuinely believed
the statements in the amended prospectus were true, and that
careful attention had been given to the contents of the
amended prospectus, including taking legal advice.
"Third, in both New Zealand, and in the United Kingdom, it
has been very rare for honours to be cancelled. In those
cases where it has occurred, it has often been because the
actions that led to the cancellation were in the same area as
that for which the original honour was awarded. This is not
the case with Sir Douglas."
Mr Key praised Graham's "significant political legacy in the
area of treaty settlements that subsequent Labour and
National-led governments have worked to build on".
"New Zealand is a better country today because of the work
Sir Douglas did as Treaty Negotiations Minister, and my
judgment is that he deserves to retain his knighthood."