The Crown says it will seek longer prison sentences for two Bridgecorp directors than have been seen in any finance company case so far.Bridgecorp directors Rod Petricevic and Rob Roest have been found guilty in the High Court on 10 charges of making untrue statements in investment prospectuses that attracted public investment.Fellow Bridgecorp director Peter Steigrad was found guilty on six charges and not guilty on four.Justice Geoffrey Venning said "imprisonment is inevitable" for Petricevic and Roest and has remanded the pair in custody until sentencing. Petricevic will be sentenced on April 26 and Roest on May 18.Both Petricevic and Roest asked to be bailed so they could gather with family that had recently returned from overseas, however Justice Venning said that was an insufficient reason to keep the pair from jail.Petricevic's lawyer Charles Cato gathered in a private meeting room with his client's family and friends after Petricevic was led into custody.Steigrad will be bailed to travel between New Zealand and his home in Australia where he has "particular personal circumstances" to attend to. He will be sentenced on May 18.Steigrad's lawyer Brian Keene QC said he hadn't yet spoken to his client about his reaction but said he "can't imagine that it would be one of joy".Crown lawyer Brian Dickey said outside court that he was pleased with the verdict and would seek a longer prison sentence for Petricevic and Roest than had been handed down in previous finance company collapse cases.The charges carry maximum penalties of five years in prison and fines of up to $300,000. The trial has spanned six months in the High Court.
From whast we understand of this case, the offending of the defendants, in particular Petricevic and Roest was far more direct and material to the collapse of Bridgecorp than that of the the Lombard directors sentenced last week.
The collapse of Bridgecorp was significant. Over 18,000 investors lost in excess of $500 million when the receivers were called in. The progress of the receivership can be followed here.