Three former directors of South Canterbury Finance are to learn their fate this morning in what has been called New Zealand's biggest fraud trial.
Former chief executive Lachie McLeod, 50, and former board members Robert White, 71, and Edward Sullivan, 73, defended accusations of fraud and their involvement in the company's collapse in 2010 and subsequent $1.6 billion bailout by the Government in a trial in the High Court at Timaru which ran from March to August this year.
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) laid 18 fraud charges, which carry maximum jail terms of between seven and 10 years.
Last month, the SFO disclosed that since the charges were laid in 2011, it had spent $200,000 on external lawyers and nearly $61,000 on their travel and accommodation during the trial.
As well, Crown Law figures showed about $985,000 had been paid to its external counsel by the end of July this year.
Lachie John McLeod: Farmer. Faces two charges of theft by person in special relationship, two of false accounting and two charges of obtaining by deception.
Edward Oral Sullivan: Solicitor. Faces two charges of theft by person in special relationship, five counts of making false statements by a promoter and one charge of obtaining by deception.
Robert Alexander White: Retired. Faces one charge of theft by person in special relationship, two counts of making false statements by a promoter and two counts of obtaining by deception.
Former directors Graeme Brown and Terrence Hutton faced charges laid by the SFO but these were dropped.
In August 2013, the SFO announced it had withdrawn a charge of false accounting laid against Mr Brown, the former chief financial operator, who later gave evidence at the trial of his former colleagues.
Two months later, the SFO said it had withdrawn charges laid against Mr Hutton.
Mr Hutton was the former group accountant for the company and faced two charges alleging false accounting in relation to the recording of a $25 million loan advance and a $10 million loan advance.
The SFO said the charges were withdrawn in accordance with the Solicitor-General's prosecution guidelines.
The trial in Timaru ended on 18 August after 61 days of evidence from more than 40 witnesses, and another 12 days of closing submissions from the Crown and four defence lawyers.
Justice Heath, an Auckland-based High Court judge, will give his decision from 9.30am today.