Swann supporter reticent over links to vessel

Kapala berthed at the Kitchener St wharf late this week. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
Kapala berthed at the Kitchener St wharf late this week. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.

A key supporter of convicted fraudster Michael Swann is remaining tight-lipped over his links to a Dunedin-based vessel.

Former Australian fisheries research vessel Kapala was berthed at the Kitchener St wharf after recent work at the harbour basin slip.

Sources confirmed the vessel is connected to Harold Cave, of Christchurch.

This week the Otago Daily Times contacted Mr Cave to ask whether he owned Kapala.

''I don't want to talk about that,'' he said, before hanging up.

Mr Cave appeared at Mr Swann's parole hearing in June, and drove him from prison on his release a month later.

As part of his release, Mr Swann was staying at an approved Christchurch address; and could not reside elsewhere without the written approval of Probation.

The ODT sought clarification from the Department of Corrections on those release conditions, after a tip-off that Mr Swann could potentially be sailing the vessel to Christchurch to live on.

A spokeswoman declined to answer questions on whether there had been any changes to his release conditions, but issued a statement saying: ''Corrections is managing this offender in accordance with his release conditions''.

Mr Swann, who had wanted to be paroled to Mr Cave's address, was instead paroled to Alasdair Cassels' Governors Bay property, Mr Cassels, who is a director and majority shareholder of Cassels & Sons Brewery and owns the Woolston Tannery complex, declined to talk yesterday.

Mr Swann spent four years and eight months in jail for his part in defrauding the former Otago District Health Board of $16.9 million.

In November, more than $250,000 in cash and assets, including a 1922 Rolls-Royce bought for $160,000 in 2004, was recovered from Mr Swann.

Despite the High Court ruling, Mr Swann could not be recalled to prison as the discovery of assets was not part of his release conditions.

A police spokeswoman said police welcomed information concerning the recovery of assets and cash connected to Mr Swann, who remains subject to a $6 million pecuniary order.

Any property recovered up to that amount can be used to satisfy the order made under the Proceeds of Crime Act.