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Creditors of NZ financial service provider Vivier asked to dip into their pockets to help liquidator pursue money in Britain

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Creditors of NZ financial service provider Vivier asked to dip into their pockets to help liquidator pursue money in Britain
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The liquidator of former New Zealand financial services provider Vivier and Company Ltd is raising money from creditors to pursue a British company it says received money from Vivier for "no obvious basis."

Vivier, a registered NZ company that offered private banking type services and had been registered on NZ's financial service providers' register (FSPR), was placed into liquidation by order of the High Court in February 2022. 

The company's profile soared in 2015 when Irish broadcaster RTE linked Vivier to mortgages offered in Ireland by a sub-prime mortgage company allegedly funded by the proceeds of one of Britain’s largest ever tax frauds. 

In 2016, after a Court of Appeal hearing, the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) had Vivier deregistered from NZ's FSPR. However, this appears to have been little more than a road bump for Vivier, which remained a NZ registered company and was able to continue offering financial services overseas.

The liquidation came after the FKC Private Trust, Vivier's sole NZ-based investor, and its trustee Mubashir Qasim served a statutory demand on Vivier. The Trust made two $2 million investments with Vivier in 2019 and has a preferential claim with the liquidator for almost $4.7 million. Kosei Yamaguchi, a retired Japanese businessman, his lawyer, and two children are beneficiaries of the Trust.

Liquidator Waterstone Insolvency says the $4 million from the Trust is the only asset they've identified. It also says 46 unsecured claims have been received totalling almost $10.7 million. Creditors' locations include Spain and Japan.

Bede Henderson of Waterstone says in a note to creditors the liquidator wants to work with a British liquidator to liquidate British company Monument Realty Ltd. Monument received "circa $2 million" from Vivier and Company's sister company, Vivier Capital, which is also in liquidation, "with no obvious basis," Henderson says.

Waterstone is seeking to pool money from creditors to fund moves to liquidate Monument Realty, with contributions equivalent to 2.5% of the value of their investment up to a maximum of $10,000 sought.

Waterstone's latest report says it doesn't yet have any money to return to creditors and if no avenues of recovery are identified, the liquidation could be concluded within six months.

'The hottest lead'

Henderson told Monument Realty is "the hottest lead" as the recipient of the most money from Vivier. Henderson says he's not sure yet whether the liquidator will raise enough money from creditors to go ahead with the pursuit of Monument Realty. He wouldn't say how much money was being sought from creditors in total.

"Creditors are continuing to send us funding, but if there's not enough at the end we'll send it all back to them...[so] they'll get all their money back. Regardless of that, we remain optimistic about making recoveries [from the liquidation]," Henderson, pictured, says.

Waterstone already has a British liquidator lined up to work with, he says. Meanwhile, Henderson says the same tactic could potentially be pursed against Irish company Elstree Mortgages, formerly Vivier Mortgages, which received just over $1 million from Vivier. Such a move would require more funding from creditors, Henderson says. has written several articles about Vivier since 2015 including this detailed one in April 2021 which highlights the use of ASB and BNZ bank accounts, and this one in February 2022 when the move was made to liquidate the company.

'Not a legitimate private banking firm'

Waterstone says Vivier; "was not a legitimate private banking firm due to the level of creditor claims received and fact it held no customer deposits in New Zealand. The liquidators are not aware of any customer deposits held overseas."

The mastermind behind Vivier was allegedly convicted British fraudster Ian Andrews, although he has denied this. Andrews has never appeared in Companies Office records as either a Vivier director or shareholder.

Andrews, then known as Leaf, was found guilty at London's Southwark Crown Court of 13 counts of fraudulent trading relating to a "complex £76 million fraud centred on a company purchase scheme," following an eight year investigation by HM Revenue & Customs in 2005. 

Andrews was listed as "a person with significant control" over Monument Realty between June 2018 and July 2022 in British Companies House records, and in 2019 gave evidence in an Irish High Court case on behalf of Elstree Mortgages.

Meanwhile, Henderson says Waterstone is "in the process" of interviewing former NZ-based Vivier directors under oath.'s previous investigations suggest these people have been nominee directors, with no real power over Vivier, with some of the shareholders also appearing to be nominees.

At one point Dunedin golf pro Allan Court was listed in Companies Office records as a Vivier director and shareholder, with the golf course listed as the company's registered office and address for service.

At the time of the RTE report Vivier's CEO was Luigi Wewege, who had featured as something of a third wheel in local media coverage of then-Auckland Mayor Len Brown's affair with Bevan Chuang in 2013. Wewege was also a director but subsequently left NZ. Another former Vivier director was John David Beckett, or Lord Taylor of Warwick, during 2014. A member of Britain's House of Lords, he was jailed in 2011 for false expense claims, and disbarred in 2012 for "conduct discreditable to a barrister."

"As you would imagine a director or an ex-director in this position might be reluctant or may be worried about speaking to us. It's their duty to do this, so we continue to pursue that," Henderson says. "The ones we're pursuing are New Zealand based."

'The least likely person on the planet to talk to us'

Although was asked to and did provide Waterstone with email addresses for Andrews in 2022, Henderson says; "I guess Ian Andrews is probably the least likely person on the planet to talk to us." 

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Andrew Bayly told in March the Government wasn't actively considering improving disclosure rules for the beneficial owners of NZ companies, something previous governments have been looking at for almost a decade.

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How can this be.  Is New Zealand so weak?

"......the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) had Vivier deregistered from NZ's FSPR. However, this appears to have been little more than a road bump for Vivier, which remained a NZ registered company and was able to continue offering financial services overseas...."

Would it be so hard to just banish these characters from our shores.  And then if we overdo it sometimes, let the offended make their case.  But the onus is put on them, not us.