Business

Director involved in $176m collapse wants luxury detention

The Remuera house in which convicted Dominion Finance director Ann Butler wants to serve a home detention sentence.
The Remuera house in which convicted Dominion Finance director Ann Butler wants to serve a home detention sentence.

A DIRECTOR of Dominion Finance, which lost investors more than $176 million, wants to serve home detention in her $6.8 million Remuera mansion.

Company director Ann Butler was one of six directors of Dominion Finance when it went under in 2008.

Butler pleaded guilty yesterday to seven Securities Act charges of making untrue statements in a prospectus and investment statements.

Shortly before proceedings started in the High Court at Auckland, she asked the security guard if she could get her tissues from her handbag.

The 64-year-old answered "guilty" in a steady voice as each of the seven charges was read out by the court registrar.

Justice Robert Dobson convicted Butler and called for a report on her assets. It is understood the Crown will be seeking reparations for investors.

She was remanded on bail for sentencing next month.

Her lawyer, Tim Mullins, asked that a report be prepared on the suitability of Butler's home as a place to serve a home detention sentence.

Butler left court with a supporter and returned to the Remuera home, which she part-owns with fellow Dominion director Robert Whale, according to the property's title.

The house has been on the market for more than a year, a real estate agent said. The advertising bills it as "Paradise on offer here", with four bedrooms, parking for five cars, a wine cellar, a home theatre and a library.

Dominion Finance investor Owen Hoddinott said he hoped Butler's home would be sold and the money shared among investors.

Mr Hoddinott, who lost $100,000 of his retirement savings, said the idea of Butler living in a "plush place" did not sit well with investors.

"Why not somewhere less expensive?"

The 66-year-old school teacher said he'd had to go back to work part-time to make ends meet.

"Really, at the time, it just about killed me," he said. "The nights I spent just worrying about it, it still rankles me today to think that the money just disappeared."

Dominion Finance, which offered commercial and property loans, went under in September 2008 owing 5,937 investors more than $176.9 million.

Its sister company, North South Finance, was placed in receivership in 2010, owing $31 million to 3,900 debenture holders.

Butler's fellow Dominion directors Vance Arkinstall, Richard Bettle, Robert Whale and Paul Forsyth will go on trial next month.

Butler's husband, Terry, was to have joined them, but he died in March of cancer.

Financial Market Authority head of enforcement Belinda Moffat, said Butler was the 27th company director to be convicted in cases brought by the authority.

"She has accepted that she failed to perform her role as a director and did not take the steps required to ensure she was aware of the true position of the companies."

Topics:  editors picks, finance, investment, nz


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