A lawyer and former Mayor of Central Hawke's Bay is facing criminal charges linked to a multimillion-dollar finance company collapse.
Hugh Edward Staples Hamilton, 61, and now listed as living in Acacia Bay, Taupo, made a brief first appearance on the Serious Fraud Office and Financial Markets Authority charges in the Auckland District Court yesterday. He entered no pleas to 35 charges and was remanded by Judge Philippa Cunningham to appear in the court again on December 21.
He faces 19 Crimes Act charges of theft by a person in a special relationship, five charges of making false statements as a promoter, and 11 Companies Act charges of making a false statement to a trustee.
The SFO said Hamilton was a legal adviser to other individuals charged in relation to the collapse of Belgrave Finance in 2008.
He no longer holds a legal practising certificate, having left the partnership of Waipukurau firm Davidson Armstrong and Campbell at the end of June last year, after more than 20 years with the company, which is not implicated in the charges and which had never acted for Belgrave.
Hamilton served six years as the first mayor of CHB after the merger of the smaller councils in 1989, at which time he was deputy mayor of Waipukurau.
Among a variety of other services to the community, he was a president of the Waipukurau Rotary Club, and a chairman of the Central Rugby and Sports Club, a merger of other rugby clubs in CHB. His service was recognised with an MNZM in the 1997 Queen's Birthday Honours.
The SFO and FMA (formerly the Securities Commission) initially charged three other people, including allegations that between June 2005 and March 2008 they used more than $18 million of Belgrave investors' funds to make related party loans, misrepresenting how the funds would be used. Acting SFO chief executive Simon McArley said additional information resulted in further inquiries into Hamilton's involvement, and it was now alleged he was an accomplice.