New charges over failed finance company

A former legal adviser to people involved with Belgrave Finance is facing 35 fraud charges following the collapse of the finance company in 2008.

Hugh Edward Staples Hamilton, 61, a former barrister and solicitor, appeared in Auckland District Court on Friday.

He is charged with 19 counts of theft by a person in a special relationship, five charges of making a false statement by a promoter and 11 Companies Act charges of making a false statement to a trustee.

The Serious Fraud Office and Financial Markets Authority initiated a joint prosecution relating to more than $18 million of loans made by Belgrave to various entities between June 2005 and March 2008.

The prosecution alleges Hamilton was an accomplice to fraudulent statements and use of Belgrave investors' funds.

Three people were initially charged with fraud and in August a former director of the company Shane Joseph Buckley, 44, was jailed for three years after pleading guilty to a raft of charges including theft and making a false statement as a promoter.

Former Belgrave finance director Stephen Charles Smith, 43, and an associate, Raymond Tasman Schofield, 49, will face trial on similar charges in April.

The SFO alleges investors were misled how their investments in Belgrave would be used, and it subsequently used those funds in an unauthorised manner.

Belgrave Finance provided finance and mortgage facilities for commercial and residential property developments.

It was placed in receivership in 2008 owing an estimated 1000 investors $22 million. It was liquidated in 2010.

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