Hubbards to face charges – UPDATED

“What would you have said if this had happened under a Labour government?” my farmer asked when news broke that Allan and Jean Hubbard were being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office.

I would have ranted and I would have been wrong. This is a matter for the law not politics.

There is no doubt the Hubbards did a lot of good for their community and the wider economy but there are very serious questions about whose money they used to do it, albeit for no personal financial gain.

In Counting the Cost Rebecca Macfie wrote:

If the Hubbards are indeed found to have committed fraud, their famously frugal lifestyle and commitment to charity – Hubbard estimates he has given away $200 million over the years – suggest they have not profited personally. But that’s irrelevant to the SFO: “Personal gain is not necessarily a requirement of fraud or theft,” says Feeley. “If I take $100 from you and say I am going to put it in the bank, whether I give it to the IHC or bet it at the race track, either way that would be a fraudulent act.”

A law unto himself, another Listener story by Macfie, provides a good background to the saga and if you enter Hubbard as a search term in the NBR the headlines tell a very sorry story.

Now the NBR reports D-Day for Hubbards?:

The Financial Markets Authority and the Serious Fraud Office were today set to lay charges in relation to a finance company, with speculation focused on Allan Hubbard’s Aorangi Securities and Hubbard Management Funds.

NBR was aware of last minute discussions between Mr Hubbard’s lawyer Mike Heron and the SFO over how the decision would be announced. A press release was due to be sent out by the regulators today.

It is a year and a day since the news first broke that the SFO was investigating the Hubbards.

It will have been a hard year for them – and for the people who trusted them with their money who will be lucky to get much, if any of it back among whom are the taxpayers who guaranteed deposits.

UPDATE: NBR reports: Hubbard to face 50 charges.

12 Responses to Hubbards to face charges – UPDATED

  1. Inventory2 says:

    FIFTY fraud charges, to be precise.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/5167546/SFO-announcement-on-Allan-Hubbard-due#share

    It will be interesting to see that reaction of the Hubbard-worshippers. I have no doubt that Mr Hubbard is a thoroughlt decent bloke, but I somehow suspect that he has struggled to keep abreast with all the legislative and compliance changes in business today.

  2. poneke says:

    “What would you have said if this had happened under a Labour government?” my farmer asked when news broke that Allan and Jean Hubbard were being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office.

    The Labour Government, for reasons I could never ascertain, introduced a bill to abolish the Serious Fraud Office.

    Presumably they wished to protect somebody. It can’t have been Hubbard as he is a National man.

    The incoming National government axed Labour’s plan to abolish the SFO and that, IMO, was a very good move.

  3. homepaddock says:

    I2: From the link you give: “Mr Feeley said Mr Hubbard’s frugal lifestyle did not amount to a defence: “Whatever the public may think, in considering whether serious fraud has been committed, the motives or lifestyle of an alleged offender are ultimately irrelevant. We have to consider matters such as whether deceit has occurred; the losses caused by that that deceit; and whether the facts meet the prescribed elements of one or more criminal offences.”

    No personal gain could be a mitigating factor but doesn’t make a difference as to whether or not there’s been fraud.

    Poneke – I agree we need the SFO.

  4. gravedodger says:

    My first reaction was don’t be so bloody stupid, the guy drives an old beetle and goes to church and lives as a man his age does, no stable of cars, no flaunted wealth no outward signs. Just ask my MP who alerted me that all was not well with evidence already in the public arena
    I know a couple of guys who worked with him and left before the excrement hit the AC, it is all so unbelievable.
    A close friend asked if his money with SCF was ok, my reply was of course but if you are at all concerned follow your gut instincts, he did and kept his shirt and I joined the growing queue of the deluded.
    I have known many who have benefited from his financial assistance,
    I am still struggling to believe that the man has committed fraud but it does not look anything even closely matching my perception of Alan Hubbard.
    How was the treasury mole who did the due diligence on allowing SFC into the guarantee scheme so wide of the mark. If the truth was so obscured how come the abandon ship never sounded until the whispers gained traction
    I also wondered at the effort the Clarke Government put into trying to disestablish the SFO when It was obvious plod does not have the people, the resources or the brains to unravel fraud.

  5. alex Masterley says:

    Mr Hubbard’s problem in all of this was that he had a hands on role and got his hands “dirty”, i.e he was doing the day to day transactional work, whereas robber barons such as Hotchkin and Breyers did not and were not.

    Whether there is fraud will depend on whether the elements of each charge are made out. That will be an expensive exercise and potentially futile exercise given Mr Hubbards health.

  6. poneke says:

    The Labour Government, for reasons I could never ascertain, introduced a bill to abolish the Serious Fraud Office. Presumably they wished to protect somebody.

    Thinking about that, it springs back to mind that Winston Peters was a ferocious hater of the SFO, right back to the Winebox. It’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that he talked Michael Cullen into abolishing it.

  7. Cadwallader says:

    If Mr Hubbard is a true Robin Hood, and he may well be, this fact does not dissolve culpability. I’ll be interested to learn whether his “merry men” advisers, lawyers and accountants, are charged too. The advisers have lived on the churn of funds whether Mr Hubbard has or has not.

  8. Inventory2 says:

    @ Poneke; such an “accomodation” between Peters and Cullen may well have been the cornerstone of NZ First’s support of Labour.

  9. pdm says:

    “@ Poneke; such an “accomodation” between Peters and Cullen may well have been the cornerstone of NZ First’s support of Labour.”

    Along with a number of other dubious deals I suspect.

  10. Farmer Baby Boomer says:

    I wouldn’t consider myself a “Hubbard-worshipper ” (as IV2 puts it) but I have always respected Mr Hubbard . However I now think an open mind is called for will follow proceedings with interest.
    How ever I feel bound comment that, while conceding that Alan Hubbard has a case to answer, it does not seem right that Mark Bryers that seems to have got away transferring considerable assets overseas. This while many investors in his schemes are out of pocket .

  11. Farmer Baby Boomer says:

    I probably should add that I have not invested any money with Alan Hubbard or Mark Bryers.

  12. johnsonmike says:

    It’s about time the SFO moved on Hubbard.

    I do hope the SFO will also look at how South Canterbury Finance got itself onto the deposit guarantee scheme, costing we taxpayers north of a billion.

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