25 Aug 2015

Bridgecorp boss's release 'stinks to high heaven'

5:26 pm on 25 August 2015

The man at the helm of the failed finance company Bridgecorp will walk from jail next month, but he won't be able to run a business or give financial advice.

Rod Petricevic was convicted on 18 charges of fraud after Bridgecorp collapsed in 2007 owing 14,500 investors $490 million.

He was sentenced to six years and 10 months in prison but a decision from the Parole Board released to media today will see him out of prison two years and five months before his sentence was due to end.

For a long time, Petricevic had refused to admit he'd done anything wrong.

He maintained that stance when he appeared before the Parole Board on two previous ocassions but, according to the Parole Board, that's all changed.

Petricevic has now seen a psychologist and is reported to show genuine remorse, and an understanding that what he did was wrong.

He has also finally accepted what a High Court judge told him in 2012.

At his sentencing in 2012, Justice Venning found Petricevic had misled new investors about how well Bridgecorp was doing and that he had lied to existing investors about the company being in serious financial trouble.

At the time, the Crown prosecutor Brian Dickey described it as the pinnacle of market related fraud because of all the lies.

The Parole Board finding also reveals what Petricevic has been doing inside prison: working in the prison grounds, as well as earning qualifications in horticulture.

The report noted he had not been mentioned in any incident or misconduct reports and was considered a minimum security prisoner.

On his release from prison, 66 year-old Rod Petricevic plans to retire.

He's told the Parole Board he has no plans of offering financial advice or being involved in business, but ultimately will not have a choice, as his special release conditions include a ban on being involved in business, trust or voluntary organisation.

He is also not allowed to handle business transactions or give financial advice.

Not everyone is pleased about his early release.

Investor John Dunlop is 91-years-old.

Throughout his working career as a builder, he built 412 homes.

Mr Dunlop invested a quarter of a million dollars in finance companies, including $10,000 in Bridgecorp and lost his entire life-savings.

He described the Parole Board decision as "stinking to high heaven" and said he thought Petricevic should have served his full term.

Rex Warren lost more than a million dollars.

When told about Petricevic's horticulture qualifications, he said he hoped Petricevic would grow a money tree and pay him back.

He said Petricevic had robbed people of their life savings.

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