Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The Alan Hubbard case

The Alan Hubbard conspiracy: a warning for New Zealanders
by Seemorerocks




This is a story of the town of Timaru, where I was born, of the South Island and of a generation of people like my father.

He was a Canterbury farmer who, returning from the war built up his farm and through simple living and hard work built up a nest-egg to hand onto his children.

I can recall how he would seal a business deal with a handshake, rather than a water-tight contract.

He invested his money with finance companies like South Canterbury Finance and would have placed his trust in people like Alan Hubbard.

Alan Hubbard came out of the same world as my father. He made his money through dairy farming and through sound investments and made a small fortune.

Unlike the financial elite of today (the 1%-ers) he never saw this money as his own, rather as a means of helping others. He often gave interest-free loans to give people in his community a step-up. He was there for others – there are stories of him travelling out at 2 in the morning to talk some farmer out of committing suicide.

He never lived an opulent lifestyle.

In fact he lived in the same simple house in Timaru he had lived in for 35 years; drove a 1970's Volkswagen and withdrew $750 a month to support himself and his wife Jean.

He made his money in Canterbury and his money stayed there too.

These are values which won him the support and admiration of the people of Timaru.

They were values that many of us could aspire to.

And yet, these were the very values that were cruelly dismissed and criticised in 2010 New Zealand. Alan Hubbard was portrayed by government and media as someone with bad business practices, someone who was 'corrupt' and 'senile'.

By the time this story was played out, the lives of perhaps 200,000 mainly older, upstanding New Zealanders were destroyed by the failure of finance company after finance company. The media has been full of the stories of the fraud and greed on the part of those involved in the ownership and management of these companies.

By 2009-10 South Canterbury Finance was bit of a 'last man standing' – the last independent finance company left in New Zealand.

So what happened?

I am no expert in the area of finance (quite the opposite), so I would like to leave you with the sources so you can find out for yourself.

Briefly though,as I understand it, the new National government saw Alan Hubbard as a weak link.

Alan Hubbard had a company, Aorangi Finance which was open to local investors (but not to the general public – so they did not issue a prospectus). He was also the Chief Executive of one of NZ's largest finance companies, South Canterbury Finance.

In 2009 a single anonymous complaint was made to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) about Aorangi on the basis that the company had failed to issue an investment statement.

This became the basis for the SFO to raise questions about Aorangi and the business practices of Alan Hubbard, who was accused publicly of fraud and placed by the SFO under statutory management.

At the time all his companies were solvent and had come through the worst of the Finance Collapse. He had made the highly unusual step of putting $40 million of his own money into SCF and was already moved from the everyday investment decisions of the company.

In 2009 the government talked about $337 million of “related property loans at risk”.

Yet by 2010, with Hubbard being removed from control of his companies, this had ballooned to a $1.5 billion loss which was covered by the New Zealand taxpayer.

What happened is that John Key and his friends, by destroying the reputation of Alan Hubbard and his companies and putting them into receivership, were able to strip the assets under the guise of protecting investors' assets and subsidising the losses with tax payer money (to the tune of a massive $1.5 billion).

They were then able to put the blame for all this onto Alan Hubbard and his 'outdated', 'quaint' but 'corrupt' business methods.

The fact was that not ONE of these assertions was ever tested in court. 

The SFO removed his records and then, instead of the Crown having to prove their assertions Alan Hubbard was forced into the impossible position of proving his own innocence. Meanwhile the statutory managers were able to feed a compliant media news releases every few weeks that reinforced the perception that Hubbard was guilty of fraud.

Finally, in 2011, just days before Alan Hubbard was due to have his day in court, he was killed in a car accident. 

There is a perception amongst many that his demise was not accidental and I have seen circumstantial evidence (that was shown in confidence and I cannot divulge) that persuades me that this is indeed the case.

Whatever the truth, this outcome was very convenient to the Crown, who were spared the possible embarrassment of Alan Hubbard's testimony and which allowed them to drop the (fraudulent) fraud case.

THE IMPACT ON INVESTORS

There were 40 investors in Aorangi Finance, (a local company that didn't take deposits from the general public)  which was subject to a sole anonymous complaint that came on the very day that Alan Hubbard paid $40 million of his own money into South Canterbury Finance.

This was a company that was solvent, yet by the time the SFO had finished, these people had lost their lives savings.

The impact is well documented in research by Kerry Grass, but here is just one of the victim impact statements:

Victim Impact Statement

The impact of this situation on all of our lives has been enormous. The worry

and stress endured is unbelievable.


We invested with Alan after meeting with him in Timaru because we

trusted his integrity and knack of wise investing. He was a well-respected

businessman for around 60 years and was a self-made man.


My parents had known him personally and had happily invested with him

for many years. They supported our decision to put our money with him.


We have been planning for our retirement (as the government wants us to

do) but when you get to our age and stage in life, it is extremely hard to get

your head around how to start again from scratch. This puts pressure on

any healthy relationship.


We have no complaints with the investments Allan chose for us. They had

been doing very well. On the odd occasion that we required money out,

there was never any problem.


I firmly believe that this whole Hubbard ‘set-up’ has been a catalyst to my

mother’s death. Six months ago my mother was driving and gardening. She

had recently developed many stress related problems which seemed odd as

she has always been a very active and well person.


This has been incredibly stressful for both my parents and really saddens me

that this seemed her only escape from an uncontrollable situation. My poor

dad is now living with the consequences of all this.”


Our families are feeling like a ‘by-product’ of a few other people’s selfish

gains. They have misused the system to distort things for their own benefit

and the most frustrating thing is the powers that be have closed ranks and

are turning a blind eye to things that are far worse than what Allan has

been accused of.....

For 60 Minutes documentary GO  HERE
 
For further background on this see the research done by Kerry Grass

Also listen to the following discussion of Paul Carruthers and Vinny Eastwood.




WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?

This case is important to me for various reasons:

1. It represents a violation of principles of democracy


In the type of democracy we have lived in until recently the details would never have been discussed so widely in the media and the presumption would have been of innocence until proven otherwise.

The violation of these principles has allowed an innocent man's reputation to be impugned and his life destroyed.

There have been some significant examples in the last 4 years of the same process:

  • The case of the Urewera terror case where the defendants were found not guilty of the more serious offence but were found guilty and sentenced on the basis of evidence in support of the first case that was thrown out (thereby making that 'evidence' inadmissable)

  • The history of the Kim Dotcom case – the co-operation with the FBI and Hollywood, the illegal involvement of the GCSB and irregularities in how the case was handled

  • A recent case in Nelson where a drugs case against gang members was thrown out because of illegal actions of the police and the blurring of the line between the State (in the form of the police) and the judiciary. 
  • Leglislation has often been passed under urgency by-passing public scrutiny by select committe and key decisions have been made by orders-in-council. In general there has been major moves to frustrate or restrict public input into policy

2. The role of the mass media

In the Hubbard case, as well as the Urewera Twelve and the Kim Dotcom it has largely been a case of trial by media.

Details of the case against Alan Hubbard were leaked to the media and gross distortions of the truth allowed to go completely unchallenged. In short, Alan Hubbard was destroyed by a corporate media that shared the interests of the people who led the assault.

This is the media that tries to ensure that the public remains infantalised and unaware of the big crisis/collapse and the corruption of society and its values by the elite.

In short, the media is part of the elite and it is its role to defend the interest of that elite.



3. This was an attack on the South Island 

If one doesn't delve too deeply things can seem to be 'normal' and 'business as usual' for most people.

That is unless you are one of the thousands who have lost life savings, lost their homes and livelihoods.

Many of these people are in the South Island:

  • The people, often trusted and elderly who have had their lives ruined through the failure of finance companies

  • Farmers who have been forced off the land through the selling of fraudulent derivatives by the banks – HERE and HERE

  • Farmers who have invested in forestry on the expectation of gaining from carbon trading to see this disappear in a whiff of smoke
  • the earthquake disaster in Christchurch has been used to remodel the city along right-wing lines (charter schools) and the like and to destroy resilent and close communities., Money is being spent on convention centres and expensive stadiums while people still have nowhere to live. This is called by Naomi Klein 'disaster capitalism'. A democratically-elected local government body was sacked by central government and elections cancelled.
  • The Dunedin City Council has been warned about excessive debt when central government encouraged this by pushing the building of a large stadiun for the Rugby World Cup creating debt without any prospect of attracting money back.

A personal reflection

I have a brother who has many good, old-fashioned values. Unfortunately, he has seen as the greatest virtue the ability to conform and to accept and adapt to change uncrtically without for a minute reflecting on the fact that all the cards are stacked against him in this 'Brave New World”

Any questioning of the status quo evokes violent denial because it threatens the very basic assumptions that he has clung to. - so much so that these differences go beyond any concern for a sibling.

This, unfortunately, is the world that we are living in.

The world in which we were raised, with its values of decency and truth are being stomped on.

Alan Hubbard “was generous and that is a bad thing, and this guy was a trusting character and that's a bad thing too"

We might be called upon to make a decision as to what is most important for us – spiritual values and Truth or an attempt to hold on to what we can as the ship we are on sinks.

It is about spiritual transformation in the midst of traumatic change, about 'letting go'.


.

I can feel major changes coming very soon that will leave no one untouched.
This could mean a terrible and tragic end to everything we cling to as humans. But it could herald a complete transformation of human consciousness.

The choice lies with us.

While I have the strength I will keep bringing what I perceive to be true to those who are willing to listen.

Seemorerocks




1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting this. I hope that people will reflect upon this and not blindly accept what the media is telling us as the only truth.

    ReplyDelete