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SFO says insufficient evidence for a criminal prosecution of Blue Chip

SFO says insufficient evidence for a criminal prosecution of Blue Chip

Read the SFO's statement below:

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) today announced it had completed its investigations into the Blue Chip group of companies and, while investigations were continuing in relation to one of its South Island franchises, it did not intend to lay charges against the Blue Chip group based on the available evidence.

SFO Director, Adam Feeley, said “The Blue Chip investigation has attracted intense public and media interest. However, in order to lay criminal charges there must be a reasonable prospect, based on credible evidence which could be admitted in Court, that an impartial jury could be satisfied, beyond reasonable doubt, that the person prosecuted has committed a criminal offence.”

“We have concluded that this evidential threshold cannot be met.”

“Some may consider that Blue Chip operated in a moral vacuum with high pressure sales techniques and less-than-forthcoming disclosures regarding the nature of the property investments. The Court of Appeal in Bartle v GE Custodians & Tasman Mortgages described the Blue Chip business as a predatory and oppressive asset lending scheme which was inherently defective and fraught with risks.”

“However, the SFO can only form a judgment on matters that cross a threshold into serious criminal acts. In this regard, we are satisfied that insufficient evidence exists for a criminal prosecution.”

Mr Feeley said the SFO had investigated a large number of Blue Chip’s operations, including allegations of: 

- Misuse of purchasers’ deposit money; 

- On-selling of previously sold apartments; 

- Unauthorised amendment of loan applications; 

- Use of false representations and documentation to obtain advances or fees and avoid penalties; 

- False Representations to investors; 

- False accounting for renovations at Mr Mark Bryers’ home.

Mr Feeley said “this is not a decision lightly made. We have collected an enormous number of documents; conducted numerous interviews with investors; Blue Chip staff; and senior officers.

However, after extensive discussions with the Crown Solicitors, Meredith Connell, we concluded there is insufficient evidence to implicate any particular individual with criminal conduct.”

Mr Feeley noted that the matter could be reviewed if further, compelling, evidence came to light, but that discussions with interested parties to date had not revealed anything new to the SFO investigations already conducted. The SFO had also referred matters of professional conduct of lawyers involved in the Blue Chip developments to the NZ Law Society for inquiry.

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Wow. This is clearly the new bench mark for budding dodgy property execs. You can screw me, but not to the point where I gush blood,............. just  money.

I think a lot of Blue Chipsters will be scratching their heads on this outcome...I am!

here's an indepth coverage of the whys and the wherefores of it:

Where are the "whys" in that link? Seems to be very similar to the newsbit above?

How do spell "pedantic" Taxman?

Probably establishing a blueprint for similar conclusions coming up on others such as Hubbard etc

Bryers is a very clever lawyer (yes, he is a lawyer) and knew how to sail just inside the law...  brilliant guy really...  but still a crook in my view....

Guess the decision of the SFO will hurt and confuse many, but the problem is, if the evidence isn't there then the chances of getting a conviction are low.  

I think the SFO in announcing this have given themselves the option of having another crack at Bryers in the future...  so it isn't necessarily over...

Agree with Muzza. 

I hope I am wrong but it would appear that the SFO aren't as bright as they think they are, I hope that I am wrong and that they are keeping there ammo dry.

How can we have confidence in the regulators?

Justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done.

Since his appointment Feeley has shown time and time again that he does not know the law. However he is not alone however as the Registrar of Companies recently illustrated by "offering"to put SCF into statutory management.

What a sad inditement on NZ law agencies and the law they work under if Bryers gets off scott free and worse people at Strategic Finance and Hanover are also cleared of any wrong doing in the future. What a great incentive to future crooks to have a go and take on the legal system, with no repercussions.

If this is the case, John Key should be changing the laws on finance companies and deposit taking even further than he has.

The Govt will make far more money on tightening up these laws than the laws they are changing for the Hobbitt - that was actually a cost. It might not be such a PR excerise for John Key but it is more productive.

Good call Dude, one squeak from a foreign multinational and they're up till midnight the very next day changing our labour laws. The NZ public has the living daylights rorted out of them and no one gives a rats arse. Disgusting.

I'm repeating myself here again, but I will do so anyway. JK, the government, whoever they are, are nothing more than puppets. There has been many decades to tighen up legislation around our financial industries, and the gaping holes remain, why? Because there is no appitite to do so, why? Follow the money.......

In this respect and so many others NZ is a disgrace, and it makes me very sad.

I always thought setting up your own religion (and made yourself a bishop) was a safe way of creating wealth - I was wrong, property investment company is another way...

i'd love to hear what Labour propose in terms of a legislative response to all these failures and the general regulatory toothlessness.


are you there cunliffe or chauvel? come on fellas let's hear it!

If Mark Bryers is not a crook in the eyes of the SFO, then how the hell can Alan Hubbard be??

Be consistent SFO - you can't have two sets of rules - unless you are funded by blue bloods I suppose