There might be a bit of a heatwave going on in the upper North Island just at the moment, but things have suddenly become very chilly for Hanover head Mark Hotchin - the Herald reports:
Former Hanover director Mark Hotchin has had all his New Zealand assets frozen, after the Securities Commission applied to the High Court at Auckland.
The application was granted without notice to Hotchin last Friday, December 10.
A statement from the Securities Commission says that Hotchin intends to apply to revoke the orders and a hearing is expected in February.
"The action was taken under sections 60G and 60H of the Securities Act with a view to ultimately freezing sufficient property and assets of Mark Hotchin to meet any civil claims that may be brought by investors.
Any such claims would relate to those who invested in Hanover Finance, Hanover Capital and United Finance on the basis of any disclosure documents that are proved to have included untrue statements.
"The Commission decided to take this action against Mr Hotchin after deciding it was in the public interest to do so, enabling us to preserve assets from being sold or transferred", said Securities Commission Chairman Jane Diplock.
The commission said this was a preventive measure and was "no way indicative of civil or criminal liability or of the Commission's views in that regard."
We've had a bit to say on the Hanover collapse, or more to the point the manner in which Mark Hotchin and Eric Watson calmly walked away from the Hanover carnage. To have someone such as Hotchin building a mansion on prime Auckland waterfront land whilst those who invested in Hanover were left with nothing was, in our opinion, an affront to decency, and an insult to the investors.
On that basis, it is pleasing to see the Securities Commission taking action against Mark Hotchin. We note that criminal proceedings have not been ruled out, and we are sure that those investors who lost everything in the Hanover collapse will be pleased the hear that someone may yet be held accountable.