News from SFO
The Serious Fraud Office has commenced an investigation into the affairs of former financial services provider and former director of Auckland based Strategic Planning Group Limited, Andrew Hrothgar Robinson (39).
Acting Chief Executive of the SFO, Simon McArley, said the matter had been referred to the SFO from the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) and that the Office had been working closely with the FMA. Evaluation of the information now available has concluded that there are reasonable grounds to believe that an offence of serious fraud may have been committed in relation to investment funds received by Mr Robinson. The SFO have accordingly commenced a Part II investigation under the SFO Act.
The FMA opened an investigation into Mr Robinson late last year. On 21 December 2012, the FMA cancelled his Authorised Financial Adviser (AFA) license and Mr Robinson ceased being a director of Strategic Planning Group Limited on 23 December 2012. The FMA’s investigation is ongoing.
Simon McArley said, “We will continue to work closely with the FMA to ensure both agencies’ resources are applied effectively in a coordinated and timely manner.”
The SFO would like to speak to anyone who has invested with or through Mr Robinson and believe that their investments may have been affected. The SFO can be contacted on 0800 109 800, or through the website www.sfo.govt.nz
Background to investigation
The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) cancelled the Authorised Financial Adviser (AFA) license of Andrew Robinson on 21 December 2012. The FMA is also investigating Mr Robinson following a complaint made against him. He is no longer registered as a financial services provider.
Role of the SFO
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) was established in 1990 under the Serious Fraud Office Act in response to the collapse of financial markets in New Zealand at that time.
The SFO operates three investigative teams:
• Evaluation & Intelligence;
• Financial Markets & Corporate Fraud; and
• Fraud & Corruption.
The SFO operates under two sets of investigative powers.
Part I of the SFO Act provides that it may act where the Director “has reason to suspect that an investigation into the affairs of any person may disclose serious or complex fraud.”
Part II of the SFO Act provides the SFO with more extensive powers where: “…the Director has reasonable grounds to believe that an offence involving serious or complex fraud may have been committed…”
The SFO’s Annual Report 2012 sets out its achievements for the past year, while the Statement of Intent 2012-2015 sets out the SFO’s three year strategic goals and performance standards. Both are available online at: www.sfo.govt.nz