Auckland District Court Judge Jan Doogue delivered her not guilty verdict at noon today, the directors, Tim Saunders, John Feeney, Peter David Hunter, John Hagen and Peter Thomas, were each charged with two breaches of the Financial Reporting Act.It was only an 'undred million, guv; hardly worth mentioning, so we didn't mention it.
Doogue said the directors were "all honest men" who had conducted
themselves with integrity.
The Crown alleged the directors failed to disclose the company was in breach of its A$100 million loan with ANZ, and that the company's debt with the bank was current, meaning it was on call.
The directors all concede now that those details were not disclosed in the accounts to December 31, 2005, but they claim at the time
they believed the statements met all the necessary requirements under the accounting standards.
Or, to put it another way, believing that one's deceit meets all the necessary requirements of the accounting standards is now considered to be acting with integrity, the action of honest men. Although those men knew about the default on the $100 million debt and chose not to tell the shareholders of the company they were mismanaging, their apparent belief that the accounting standards allowed them to do so makes their deception a matter of integrity.
In effect, the phrase "they thought they could get away with it" is now synonymous with "they thought they were doing the right thing."