The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) today confirmed that it had visited the offices of Aorangi Securities Limited (ASL) in Timaru in response to concerns raised by the Registrar of Companies, and to establish an immediate working relationship with the statutor
Serious Fraud Office confirms Aorangi Securities investigation
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) today confirmed that it had visited the offices of Aorangi Securities Limited (ASL) in Timaru in response to concerns raised by the Registrar of Companies, and to establish an immediate working relationship with the statutory managers appointed to manage its affairs, and those of Alan Hubbard and his wife.
Confirming the investigation, Chief Executive, Adam Feeley, said “The SFO commenced this inquiry only after careful consideration of the information received from the Registrar of Companies.”
Mr Feeley said that the SFO’s investigation was an immediate response to an earlier investigation by Companies Office staff appointed under the Corporations (Investigation & Management) Act and the Securities Act.
“Based on the information we received from the earlier report, we were satisfied that, not only was it in the public interest to commence an inquiry, but that the inquiry should be conducted under Part 2 of the SFO Act – that is, it should be an investigation of suspected offences involving serious or complex fraud.”
Mr Feeley said that the SFO’s had two initial priorities - to ensure that any evidence relevant to the matters highlighted in the Registrar of Companies’ report was secured by SFO investigators; and to ensure that the SFO’s investigation complemented, rather than compromised, the work of the statutory managers.
“We have established a good working relationship with the statutory managers, and are confident that our respective tasks will have proper regard to investor interests, as well as ensuring there is an orderly investigation.”
Mr Feeley said the SFO would not comment on the scope of their inquiries beyond confirming that they would examine concerns raised by the Registrar whether any or all of the approximately $134M of investors funds deposited with ASL had been received after proper disclosure, and whether those funds had been dealt with in a manner consistent with representations made to investors.
Mr Feeley said it was too early to determine the likely timeframe for the investigation, but said that the volume of documents to be analysed and the number of parties to be interviewed were such that it would be several weeks before the SFO could comment meaningfully on timeframes.
“This is an investigation of major importance to our financial markets, and the need for a thorough and fair investigation cannot be compromised by the understandable desire for early answers.”
For further information
Serious Fraud Office
Phone 021 333 539
The role of the Serious Fraud Office
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) was established in 1990 under the Serious Fraud Act in response to the collapse of financial markets in New Zealand at that time.
The SFO operates under two sets of investigative powers. Part 1 of the SFO Act provides that it may act where the Director “has reason to suspect that an investigation into the affairs of any person may disclose serious or complex fraud.”
Part 2 of the SFO Act provides the SFO with more extensive powers where: “..the Director has reasonable grounds to believe that an offence involving serious or complex fraud may have been committed…”
The SFO’s Statement of Intent 2010-2012 sets out the SFO’s three year strategy and goals for contributing towards the Government’s Justice and Economic Development goals. It is available online at http://www.sfo.govt.nz/f56,555/SFO_Statement_of_Intent_2010.pdf(external link)(external link)