With New Zealand's finance companies dropping like flies, a big group of CEO'S and former company directors have gone to ground, probably hiding out in their lavish homes - when not driving around in their Porsches and BMWs.

Although they 'regret' the company's they mismanaged have gone belly-up not one of then will out of pocket - unlike the thousands of New Zealanders who have seen their money gone down the gurgler, thanks to the incompetence of these self-styled free market 'gurus'.

Will any of them be hauled into court? You bet they won't. In fact, they'll no doubt pop up again once they feel it is safe to do so. They'll get hired by another finance company - or perhaps they'll set up a new one. Maybe they'll become financial advisors.

Or they might stand for mayor of their hometown.

That's what Jim Smylie is doing.

Smylie was founder of Western Bay Finance that went into receivership early last year owing some $48 million to more than 10,000 investors.

The investors have been getting their own money back on the dripfeed - so far they have received 77 cents in the dollar.

Western Bay stopped making loans in June, and Smylie at the time blamed a lack of incoming funds from investors due to the' negative publicity' generated by the failures of Provincial and National Finance 2000. Later however, he admitted that his company had breached its ratio of net assets to net liabilities set out in its trust deed after the provision for bad and doubtful debts on its $50m loan book ballooned to $12.4m from $2.67m.

Smylie at the time owned two yachts and plane - as well as a lavish home believed to be worth more than $2 million.

But Smylie is now standing for Mayor of Tauranga and he optimistically hopes that the failure of his company will not 'ruin his chances'.

I understand Smylie no longer owns the yachts and planes - but he still has the lavish house.


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