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FMA invites Sheppard to share Hanover report

The Financial Markets Authority wants to see any relevant information shareholders advocate Bruce Sheppard has about Hanover Finance.

Wednesday, April 9th 2014, 12:00AM 1 Comment

by Susan Edmunds

The failed finance company has been back in the headlines over recent weeks after owners Eric Watson and Mark Hotchin settled their defamation case against Bruce Sheppard for a six-figure sum reported to be the biggest defamation payout from an individual in New Zealand history.

At issue were comments he made in television and radio interviews in 2009.

Just over a week ago, a joint statement was issued by Hotchin, Watson and Sheppard, in which Sheppard acknowledged that his statements might wrongly have implied that Hotchin and Watson were involved in criminal or fraudulent transactions.

"Mr Sheppard acknowledges that any such inference, which was not intended, was incorrect and remains incorrect at the date of this statement and he retracts any such inference and regrets it,” the statement said.

It comes on top of a settlement from the Shareholders Association over Sheppard’s comments.

Before the settlement, Hotchin and Watson had challenged whether certain evidence Sheppard wanted to use in his defence could be presented in court. Sheppard said that evidence could yet be made available to the FMA and SFO.

The evidence is believed to be a report commissioned by a party related to Hanover.

Sheppard has also since said he did not apologise for the alleged defamatory statements.

That has prompted Watson and Hotchin to issue another statement: “Sheppard has recently issued a statement inferring that evidence produced by him in the defamation proceeding could be of interest to the regulators who have investigated the affairs of Hanover. This is nonsense. None of the evidence produced by Mr Sheppard is of any relevance to the matters at issue in the FMA proceeding against Hanover directors or to the regulatory investigation conducted by the SFO. If it was, no doubt Mr Sheppard would have supplied it to the regulators years ago (particularly as Mr Sheppard is an associate member of the FMA)."

The FMA said yesterday it had been in contact with Sheppard about the information.

“FMA has invited Mr Sheppard to provide any information he may have that could be relevant to the FMA’s civil proceeding against the directors of the Hanover companies,” a spokeswoman said.

Sheppard is an associate member of the FMA, which has launched a civil against Hanover figures, alleging investors were misled.

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Comments from our readers

On 9 April 2014 at 10:11 am Brent Sheather said:
FMA invites Sheppard to share Hanover report but hello Sheppard is the FMA. The Productivity Commission has said that the FMA Board has so many conflicts of interest it is hard to get a quorum on some decisions. That sounds good, not. According to the Sunday Star Mr Sheppard sells proportionate property schemes but Sue Brown of the FMA says these are bad.

There is a practicing fund manager on the Board.

One of the FMA’s prime objectives is to foster confidence in the financial markets. You think?

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