19 Mar 2012

Accused thought Bridgecorp wasn't in serious trouble

1:55 pm on 19 March 2012

The lawyer for a former director of failed finance company Bridgecorp says his client did not think the company was in serious trouble in the months before its collapse.

Rob Roest, Rod Petricevic and Peter Steigrad are facing criminal charges after the company collapsed in 2007 owing more than $450 million.

The trial in the Auckland High Court is drawing to a close after more than four months.

On Monday, lawyer Rowan Butler told the court Mr Roest did not intentionally mislead investors about the state of the company in a prospectus and other documents.

Mr Butler said Mr Roest was satisfied that the prospectus was accurate and he should have reasonably been able to accept the reviews of the prospectus done by trusted managers.

The court was told Mr Roest believed Bridgecorp could get through a tight financial place, based on previous experience, and he would not have gone on annual leave in 2007 if he did not think the company was over what he called "the hump".

Mr Butler said Mr Roest had no direct involvement in approving loans. He said auditors should have raised any potential problems about the disclosure of related party loans, but did not, and his client should have been able to rely on those auditors.

Mr Butler said that, a relatively new director with only a minor shareholding, Mr Roest had nothing to gain by staying silent.