18 Apr 2012

Bridgecorp director sentenced to jail

10:47 am on 18 April 2012

A former non-executive director of collapsed finance company Bridgecorp will spend two years behind bars for making false statements which were then given to investors.

Gary Urwin last year pleaded guilty to 10 Securities Act charges at the Auckland High Court, part way through a trial for the company's former directors.

Bridgecorp collapsed in 2007 owing some 14,500 investors more than $450 million.

Prior to the trial of the company's former directors, Bridgecorp chairman Bruce Davidson admitted to the same charges as Urwin and was sentenced to home detention.

Justice Pamela Andrews told the High Court in Auckland on Tuesday a similar sentence was not appropriate for Urwin as the scale of his offending was too great.

"A sentence of home detention would not, in your case, meet the purposes of denunciation and deterrence, particularly where you had personal knowledge of the transaction which was a significant component of Bridgecorp's failure."

Former directors Rod Petricivic, Rob Roest and Peter Steigrad were convicted on charges earlier this month following their trial.

Petricivic will be sentenced this month and Roest and Steigrad in May.

The Crown says Urwin contributed to one of the greatest finance company losses as a consequence of untrue statements he made.

Urwin owned 25% of the company's shares, as well as 50% of shares in another company, Baycroft, which Bridgecorp was lending to.

He failed to inform Bridgecorp's investors about the related party nature of the transactions, which effectively masked the company's financial troubles.