Serious Fraud Office (SFO) director Adam Feeley hopes the organisation will decide within weeks whether to charge Allan Hubbard or close its investigation.
Feeley told interest.co.nz the SFO’s investigation team was in the process of finalising its second interim report into Hubbard and related entities. The SFO would be considering the second report with its external counsel in the next couple of weeks, he said. It would consider three options – charging, continuing the investigation or closing the investigation.
Although he said he couldn’t predetermine a decision at this stage, Feeley said he hoped the SFO would be in a position to make a firm decision in terms of either laying charges or closing the investigation.
“However, there may be some tidying up matters that take a few additional weeks,” Feeley said. “If we continue the inquiries we will say so immediately. Any public comment on a decision either to charge or not charge is likely to be some weeks away.”
The SFO had put “substantial” resources into the investigation.
Third statutory manager's report due this week
Meanwhile, Hubbard’s statutory managers, Trevor Thornton and Richard Simpson from accounting firm Grant Thornton, are due to release their third report this week. It is likely to be either on Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning, a Grant Thornton spokesman said.
Hubbard, his wife Jean, Aorangi Securities and seven charitable trusts associated with the Hubbards were placed in statutory management by Commerce Minister Simon Power, following a Securities Commission recommendation and investigation involving the Companies Office, on June 20. The Registrar of Companies referred a number of matters relating to Aorangi Securities to the SFO to investigate potential breaches of the Crimes Act.
In late August, after receiving the first interim report, Feeley said the SFO would make further enquiries, noting there were now issues in relation to Hubbard Management Funds (HMF) that required consideration.
This came after the statutory managers’ second report which said there was an “alarming gap” between the income Aorangi was receiving from its loans and investments and the amount it needed to pay out to its investors, and that Hubbard had over stated HMF's position by at least 25%.
In their first report the statutory managers said they had frozen NZ$70 million in HMF, a vehicle they weren't previously aware of where the accounts were hand written.
And this month the freezing of Hubbard's financial affairs also extended into trusts linked to HC Partners, the Timaru accountancy practice formerly known as Hubbard Churcher. The Government has added Hubbard Churcher Trust Management Ltd, Forresters Nominee Company Ltd to the statutory management, plus Temple Bar Family Trust and Barns Charitable Trust. Prime Minister John Key has also rejected calls from Hubbard supporters for a public enquiry into the Government's handling of Hubbard.
The original seven trusts placed into statutory management were; Te Tua Charitable Trust, Otipua Charitable Trust, Oxford Charitable Trust, Regent Charitable Trust, Morgan Charitable Trust, Benmore Charitable Trust, and Wai-iti Charitable Trust.