A former mayor of Central Hawke's Bay and lawyer has gone on trial in the High Court in Auckland on 30 charges relating to his involvement with a failed finance company.
Hugh Edward Staples Hamilton has denied charges of theft by a person in a special relationship, making a false statement as a promoter and making a false statement to a trustee.
The Crown says Mr Hamilton arranged for the sale of Belgrave Finance to another man whose identity was hidden in the sale documents.
Prosecutor Nick Williams says the deal was hidden so the man could make millions in loans to himself and businesses he controlled.
He says this was done despite Belgrave investor documents stating the company did not make related-party loans.
Belgrave Finance was put into receivership in 2008, owing investors $22 million.
The Crown plans to call 23 witnesses in the trial which is set down for eight weeks.