Evidence needed to support claims, Blue 9 liquidator says

Steve Rout
Steve Rout
Allegations levelled at former Queenstown man Steve Rout are ''innuendo'' without supporting evidence, the liquidator of failed road construction firm Blue 9 Ltd says.

Liquidator Iain Nellies, of Insolvency Management, has responded to claims that Mr Rout, now living in the Philippines, has avoided repaying creditors by transferring Blue 9 assets to other companies linked to him through trusts and family members.

The Christchurch-registered road construction firm stopped trading in January because it could not pay its debts, and was placed in liquidation in June.

Mr Rout is listed as Blue 9's director and shareholder. Unsecured creditors include Mr Rout's failed company Steve Rout Contracting, which was placed in receivership in May 2011 amid creditor allegations its assets were transferred to Blue 9.

An individual representing a group of those creditors has emailed Blue 9's liquidators and the Otago Daily Times with claims that companies linked to Mr Rout owned about $2 million in assets that should have been sold and the proceeds given to creditors.

In their first report issued last month, Blue 9's liquidators said the company owed $2.28 million, of which $1.72 million was owed to secured creditors.

Mr Nellies said the person making the allegations had not provided details and had refused to meet him in person. Without that supporting evidence, the allegations were ''a lot of innuendo''.

''We've got a list of the assets the company had, and we're ticking off what has happened to those, and the majority of those were sold by UDC [Finance] prior to [the liquidation].

''If they were sold to another enterprise of Rout, or the Rout family interest, on the basis that UDC got a fair price, there's nothing I can do about that.''

However, he had no ''preconceived ideas'' about the outcome of the liquidation, and litigating for the recovery of assets was an option if necessary.

Mr Rout had been responding to the liquidators' questions by email, although it was a ''slow process''.

His son, Jesse Rout, told the Otago Daily Times the allegations and rumours had damaged his own reputation.

The owner and manager of Queenstown civil construction firm NuRoad Civil said he was ''associated by the same last name''.

He worked for Blue 9 until late last year, when he set up NuRoad Civil. Two former Blue 9 employees now worked for him.

He said NuRoad Civil owned assets previously owned by Blue 9 but he had bought them from UDC Finance.

Another company of which he was a director and shareholder, NuRoad Ltd, did not own former Blue 9 assets. UDC had sold Blue 9's remaining assets by public tender and as far as he knew, none of the buyers had links to his father's business interests.