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SFO fraud charges could be the largest in NZ history

Kelly Simon Tonkin, a Christchurch-based economist, has been charged by the Serious Fraud Office with five charges of alleged false accounting, making false financial statements and forging a fake audit letter.

Tuesday, May 18th 2021, 11:51AM

by Matthew Martin

According to an article published this morning by the NZ Herald, Tonkin convinced some of New Zealand's wealthiest business people to invest tens of millions of dollars into his Cayman Islands-based investment fund and could be one of the largest fraud cases of its kind in New Zealand.

Tonkin, 52, was charged by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) on March 26 but is yet to enter a plea and is expected to appear in court on May 27.

It is understood his alleged fraud, which carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, relates to his former company Penrich Capital and its Global Macro Fund, with its alleged victims including several New Zealand rich-listers whose names have been suppressed until his next court appearance.

In charging documents obtained by the NZ Herald, the SFO claims investors in the Penrich Capital Global Macro Fund were told the scheme was worth $137.2 million in February last year but had a value of only $20.7 million.

Penrich collapsed suddenly in March 2020 and liquidators were appointed to its branches in London, the Cayman Islands and Christchurch telling investors a "significant discrepancy" had been uncovered, the NZ Herald states.

After an SFO investigation, Tonkin was charged with two offences of false accounting, two of making false statements to cause losses or induce new investors, and one count of forging a fake audit letter.

Tags: fraud serious fraud office

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