25 Oct 2011

Bridgecorp trial underway after months of delays

4:52 pm on 25 October 2011

Four former heads of failed finance company Bridgecorp have pleaded not guilty to fraud related charges.

Rod Petricevic, Robert Roest, Gary Urwin and Peter Steigrad face fraud charges after the company collapsed in 2007 owing investors more than $450 million.

The charges mainly relate to making false statements in a company prospectus and distributing advertisements with untrue statements.

The trial began in the High Court in Auckland on Tuesday.

Crown lawyer Brian Dickey told the court the prospectus distributed by the company in February 2007 said it had never missed payments to investors.

But Mr Dickey said the company was so flawed there was no meeting to consider if the statements made in the prospectus were true.

He said it was the directors who signed off the prospectus documents and the onus is on them.

The start date of the trial had been delayed several times since early July due mainly to changes in lawyers and because of applications for legal aid.

Mr Petricevic, the company's former managing director, fought to get a taxpayer-funded lawyer but was denied because he has access to a family trust.

After the latest delay earlier this month it was revealed Mr Petricevic had re-employed his former lawyer.

The trial is expected to continue until May..