Man charged over Hubbard death crash

A man is due to appear in court on Friday charged in connection with the fatal crash that claimed the life of South Canterbury financier Allan Hubbard.

The 40-year-old South Otago man has been charged with careless driving causing death and careless driving causing injury to Mr Hubbard's wife Jean.

He has been summonsed to appear in Dunedin District Court on Friday. Police said the charges were laid after a thorough and robust investigation.

The accident happened on State Highway 1 about 8km north of Oamaru in Otago last September 2.

Mr Hubbard, 83, died when the car driven by Mrs Hubbard, 82, was involved in a head-on collision with a ute towing a trailer.

The ute was being driven by Andy Earl, 40, of Richmond.

At the time, Mr Earl said he could not remember anything about the collision. Mrs Hubbard also said she couldn't remember the crash.

In the days after the crash, Mr Earl's wife Janelle said he had been in Otago for a week and was driving back to Nelson early to surprise her and their six children.

She said he had no memory of the collision but called her from the scene to let her know what had happened.

He was taken to hospital and discharged with cuts and abrasions.

Mrs Hubbard, who was driving, had fracture injuries.

One witness said the crash happened on a straight and usually safe stretch of road.

At the time of his death, Mr Hubbard's Aorangi Securities was being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) after it was placed in statutory management owing investors about $100 million.

Fifty charges laid against Mr Hubbard by the SFO were dropped shortly after his death.

The crash occurred just over a year after the collapse of South Canterbury Finance (SCF), the business he developed into what was once New Zealand's largest finance company.

The police announcement of charges over the crash emerged on the day a case against five people connected with SCF returned to Timaru District Court.

Each denies 21 charges in connection with allegedly fraudulent transactions of about $1.7 billion, what would be the biggest case of corporate fraud in New Zealand history.

All five have now been identified after Robert Alexander White and Edward Oral Sullivan, did not seek an extension of name suppression orders.

Both are former directors of SCF. Sullivan is also a founder of Timaru legal firm RSM Law, previously known as Raymond Sullivan McGlashan.

The other three defendants volunteered to have their names revealed in January. They are former SCF chief executive Lachie John McLeod, Terry Hutton and former company finance officer Graeme Brown.

None of the defendants appeared in court. They were further remanded at large to a nominal date of May 28 for a post-committal conference.

Speaking on behalf of White, Bruce Squire QC said his client was disappointed to have been charged and looked forward to the trial, when he would have the opportunity to establish his innocence.

"Mr Squire added he was concerned about recent statements made by the director of the SFO to the news media about the nature and extent of the alleged offending disclosed by the collapse of SCF.

"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.''

In a statement, Sullivan said he had leave from his firm until the matter was resolved.

"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 wholly denied.

"I look forward to vindication and moving on with my life.''

SCF went into receivership on August 31, 2010 owing about $1.8b.

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 false accounting.

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