New Zealand Law Society - SFO charges over Auckland development project

SFO charges over Auckland development project

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The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) says it has charged four people involved in an Auckland development under the Crimes Act at the Auckland District Court.

Name suppression has been lifted on two of the defendants and was not sought by another.

The defendants in the matter are property developer Leonard John Ross (50), company director Michael James Wehipeihana (45), self-employed consultant Vaughn Stephen Foster (54) and one other.

They each face four charges of Obtaining by deception and two charges of Using forged documents.

The SFO says the charges against the defendants arise in relation to allegedly making false statements and using forged documents in order to obtain a credit facility from the ANZ Bank New Zealand Ltd to allow a company, Emily Projects Ltd, to develop the Waldorf Celestion Apartment Hotel in Auckland.

It is alleged that a loan facility of approximately $40 million was obtained.

SFO Director Julie Read says the SFO alleges that the defendants conspired to mislead ANZ to secure a loan facility.  

"The banks are entitled to expect that businesses will provide accurate information in support of their loan applications and a failure to do so may have cost implications for all," she says.