Ex-Bridgecorp managing director Rod Petricevic, already serving six and a half years jail after being found guilty in April over charges brought by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA), has now pleaded guilty to Serious Fraud Office (SFO) charges resulting in another four months being added to his jail sentence.
The SFO says 63 year-old Petricevic pleaded guilty in the Auckland District Court today to four Crimes Act charges. The SFO charges stem from the fraudulent acquisition and financing of a luxury launch, the ‘Medici’, purchased using NZ$3.5 million of Bridgecorp's money. A fraudulent transaction took place to finance, hide or disguise the purchase of Medici from the Bridgecorp Board, the Trustee, and investors, the SFO says.
See more here from the SFO on how the launch was bought with NZ$1.8 million of Bridgecorp's money and NZ$1.2 million of Bridgecorp funds were paid as "dishonest payments" to a business entity called ABb.
SFO chief executive Adam Feeley said despite only a small addition to Petricevic's previous jail sentence, "the public interest" required additional charges be brought to prosecution.
"We understand that conviction on the additional charges may bring little solace to investors, but offending of this scale cannot be ignored," said Feeley.
A three-week SFO trial against Bridgecorp's former financial controller Rob Roest, who also got six and half years jail from the FMA case, is due to start on September 24.
Earlier this year Petricevic was found guilty on all 18 counts of breaching the Securities Act, Crimes Act and Companies Act in the FMA case for his role in misleading investors and knowingly making false statements in offer documents.
Property financier Bridgecorp failed in 2007 with about 14,500 investors owed about NZ$459 million. Bridgecorp was tipped into receivership by trustee Covenant Trustee Company on July 2, 2007. Since then receiver PwC has returned investors just 3.5 cents in the dollar, with the first repayment coming four years after Bridgecorp's collapse. All up, PwC estimates investors' will get back no more than 10 cents in the dollar.