Bridgecorp's Petricevic facing 'excessive pay' claim

Bridgecorp's Petricevic facing 'excessive pay' claim
By Gareth Vaughan Former Bridgecorp managing director Rod Petricevic faces a claim from the company's receivers and the Official Assignee that he pocketed excessive remuneration in the months prior to the finance company's collapse. Such a claim against Petricevic would follow a court judgment obtained last September against Bridgecorp's finance director Rob Roest. He was ordered to pay the receivers about NZ$370,000 in salary and bonuses received during Bridgecorp's final months that wasn't properly approved by the company's board. However, receiver Colin McCloy of PricewaterhouseCoopers told interest.co.nz that Roest was yet to hand the money over and the receivers continued to seek it "as best we can." The receiver's latest report, posted on PwC's website this week, notes they are working with the Official Assignee on a similar claim against Petricevic. "A similar claim against Mr Petricevic is currently being considered by the Official Assignee and we continue to work with the Official Assignee to determine the extent of further claims to be made in the bankruptcy of both Messrs Petricevic and Roest, and to identify any further potential assets which may be recovered to meet such claims." The report covers the six months to January 1 but McCloy told interest.co.nz on Friday the receivers were pushing on with the claim against Petricevic. He declined to specify how much money they would seek or to say whether it was more than was being sought from Roest, who was adjudicated bankrupt at his own petition before the court hearing over his pay. Meanwhile, McCloy said other action was also afoot. "We are taking a number of actions against certain parties, but I can't tell you what they are because it might prejudice the case," McCloy said. This is in addition to Thursday's Auckland District Court hearing where five former Bridgecorp directors- Petricevic, Roest, chairman Bruce Davidson, Gary Urwin and Peter Steigrad - were committed to the High Court for a trial after each pleaded not guilty to 10 criminal charges relating to a prospectus Bridgecorp issued  in December 2006. Under Securities Act charges brought by the Securities Commission and Registrar of Companies, the five face potential maximum penalties of five years' jail or a fine of NZ$300,000 if found guilty. The commission alleges the five lied to investors and misled them in the prospectus and other offer documents. Bridgecorp collapsed into receivership on July 2, 2007 owing 14, 367 secured debenture holders NZ$459 million. McCloy and fellow receiver Maurice Noone estimate Bridgecorp's beleaguered investors' are likely to get back less than 10 cents in the dollar. This was first published this morning in our Daily Banking and Finance newsletter, which is for our paying subscribers. Find out more here.

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