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Gold trader charged with theft

The Serious Fraud Office has charged a gold trader it accuses of investing more than $400,000 of clients' money in places they didn't expect and then provided them false statements about their investments.

Kairuaiti Tangata Oropai Robert Kairua, 52, faces 29 Crimes Act charges of theft by a person in a special relationship and false statement by a promoter.

Kairua was the director of Grace Holdings NZ, which traded under the name Bullion Buyer, a business which provided gold and other precious metal leverage trading.

The SFO says Kairua made false statements to solicit investors, that funds of up to $400,000 were invested for purposes other than what the investments promoted, and that false statements were given to investors which failed to report the true position of their money.

Kairua was initially in partnership from October 2010 to September 2011, after which he became a director of Grace NZ and took over the role as trader.

Grace NZ claimed to hold investor funds of about $3.3 million when it went into liquidation, the SFO says.

"While poor investment decisions or performances are not a crime, investment advisers and managers must be truthful with investors as to the purpose to which funds will be applied and the performance of those investments," acting SFO chief executive Simon McArley said.