Thursday, November 19, 2009

Will there be an Eric Watson Mask?

The most popular Halloween mask in the US this year was Bernie Madoff, the big time confidence trickster who cost US investors hundreds of millions of dollars and was sentenced to 150 years jail.

New Zealand's equivalent, Eric Watson, is still indulging his lavish lifestyle in the UK, San Tropez, etc, with his ill-gotten gains, as no one here has prosecuted him thanks to the toothless NZ Securities Commission.
In 1997 the American Securities and Exchange Commission came close when they found him guilty of insider trading, but let him off with a "cease and desist" warning. It is a real shame they didn't go further.

Meanwhile auditors KPMG reported on Tuesday that his Hanover Finance money-raising vehicle lost $283 million in the year to June.

And yesterday Allied Farmers threw their hat into the ring by offering to swap Watson and co-conspirator Mark Hotchin's Hanover debt for shares in themselves. Although seemingly farcical, it's unlikely Watson and Hotchin's victims will be any worse off from it, after they severely compromised their ability to chase Watson and Hotchin for it last December. Watch this space.

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