satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else’s misfortune.
Origin: 1890–95;  < German,  equivalent to Schaden  harm + Freude  joy

Bernard Hickey, the NZ Herald and Stuff are all crowing about Mark Hotchin again. It is almost gleeful. A touch of H-Utu. This time about his name suppression and falling for a dirty Ponzi scheme back in 2o04. They are mocking a victim. They don’t mock the victims of all the other frauds out there so why mock the victim in this case?

The point of name suppression in many cases is the protection of victims, in this case Hotchin was the victim and yet the NZ Herald saw fit to seek to overturn a permanent name suppression order designed to protect victims. They did what Judge David Harvey said could not be done, that the only people who could overturn a court ordered permanent name suppression was either the victim or the court who ordered it in the first place.

It appears now that any name suppression can be validly challenged by any news organization or indeed any interested party seeking to crucify a victim.

My campaign against name suppression was for the removal of the practice for the criminals. The Herald’s actions and the gleeful vitriol and running of sensationalist headlines by financial commentators who are themselves a bunch of broken-arses by comparison. There is a old line that if you can’t do, you teach and if you can’t teach, you write about people who do. This fits the financial correspondents perfectly, who collectively probably don’t muster enough in assets to cover the amount lost by Hotchin and Finnigan in the Ponzi scheme.

Using the logic of Bernard Hickey:

Hotchin was given permanent name suppression, which has only now been lifted after a challenge from the NZHerald. Strategic Finance boss Kerry Finnigan was also duped and also got name suppression.

If only the Rotorua District Court judge James Weir hadn’t granted permanent suppression, thousands of Mum and Dad investors might not have lost over NZ$500 million in Hanover and over NZ$300 million in Strategic Finance…and counting. Thanks for that.

then none of these people should be anywhere near running a company or even investing or indeed offering advice:

Victims from big business include hedge fund manager Arki Busson and US property magnate Larry Silverstein, who is currently working to rebuild the World Trade Centre in New York.

A number of large banks, including UBS, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and Bank of America, were also named in the filing.

From the world of politics, trusts belonging to the family of former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger appear, as does the name of current New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg.

The full list of Bernie Madoff’s wealthy and famous victims is available on the internet in an easily accessible format. Is Bernard Hickey suggesting that none of those people should ever run a company or give investment advice and all should also be a target of derision for having the temerity to fall for a complex and elaborate long-term fraud?

In a Ponzi scheme, the Bank cops a flogging too, and are essentially part of the fraud. I hope that Bernard’s bank isn’t the same one as the bank used by Papple and West, Westpac. I note that Bernard Hickey has all the Westpac investment products listed on….given his new position shouldn’t he really be recommending to his readers that, since they participated and fell for the Ponzi scheme themselves then investors in Westpac would be best to take their money elsewhere.

Then again, some already did that when they walked out of the country with $10 million of Westpac’s cash. Funny thing is, I didn’t see Bernard Hickey telling Westpac customers to stop investing in the bank when they couldn’t keep track of $10 million. So long as Westpac keeps the cheques coming to then Bernard will stay mum.

The logical conclusion of Hickey’s farcical suggestions and “analysis” is that anyone, and I mean anyone, who has had an accountant nick cash from their firm, handed over funds to a Nigerian 419 fraud, or “invested” in a Ponzi scheme, or indeed thought Amway was a path to success, should be barred from running a company.

What is worse though is the history of the Herald’s involvement in this case. They clearly, back in 2004, used Hotchin and Finnigan as a confidential source for their story:

One prominent company director told the court he did not want the public to know he was “conned” for more than half-a-million dollars.

The man, who has been granted name suppression by Judge James Weir, said he was advised to apply for suppression because it would be better if the Papples and West were not publicly associated with his companies.

It was revealed in court that the man had been a director of 71 companies, including a prominent finance company, although he said he had recently moved to Australia and had resigned from a number of directorships.

It was important for him not to be connected with the Papples and West, as he had been “duped into doing an investment with people who conned me for a lot of money”, he said. “I don’t want to make that public.”

The man had told the court he invested $561,066 with the trio.

He received a payment of $120,000, followed by a further three sums totalling $336,000.

The Herald has known about this for 6 years and they shamelessly used the confidential information for their story then used that information 6 years later to over-turn a name suppression case. People should be very wary of providing confidential information to a Herald journalist from now on, they will turn on you and cut your heart out just to sell papers. They will betray a confidence to justify a taudry headline.

Not only that during this whole time they ran Hanover ads in their paper, and on their website,. They have performed the business equivalent of raping the victim all over again except they did it to sell papers.

Bernard Hickey isn’t much better, he too took advertising revenue from Hanover. Did he know about this all along? Remember Bernard Hickey still writes for the Herald.

In the interests of fairness, surely the Herald and Bernard Hickey should pay back all the “dirty Hanover cash” they took while sitting on this information for 6 years. If the investors should have been told back then, then their cash for advertising is just as tainted as anyone elses.

To get back to the name suppression issue, the wonder is that the Herald isn’t in court seeking the overturning of every person’s name suppression but then a great many of those people won’t sell tell many papers, but Mark Hotchin’s name does.

Bernard Hickey and other financial media might like to think and enjoy the schadenfreude but they should really hang their heads in shame at their utter hypocrisy and breach of their own ethics and standards that they hold so dear as the reason why they are superior to bloggers. If they had even a modicum of decency they would apologise and pay back all the filthy loot they took in advertising revenue and related puff pieces at the time.

If I was Mark Hotchin, or even one of his advisors, I would be laying a complaint with the Press Council for breaches of ethics.


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  • Superb post Cam. Top drawer.

  • jimbob

    Whale you should have been a detective.

  • tonyjoe

    Really well written WO. Not that I have too much sympathy for Hotchin but this sort of journalism is pretty lame. As for Hickey, I listen to him in the mornings occasionally and I wouldn’t go to him for investment advice if I was down to my last $2.50! The guy is continually wrong in his predictions. I wonder if he still thinks house prices in Auckland will fall by 30%!

  • tooright

    Brilliant post.

    I don’t care for Hotchin, though I don’t know him. I think the freezing of his assets without any charges whatsoever being laid is a dangerous precedent for all of us. This is Stalinism – expropriation without cause. If they have evidence of wrong doing then make the charge and lay it before the court. How the judge was convinced to make the order instead of turning on the regulators and telling them to piss or leave the pot I don’t know. We rely on the courts/judges to keep the people AND the regulators honest.

    There are worrying signs all round about the independence of the judiciary – this Government is now nationalising huge chunks of the court system – surely if the budget is blowing out – put some controls in. Taking it over ain’t no solution.

    Have you ever seen a monopoly reduce costs/prices?

    What’s next show trials?

  • Pingback: Whale on Hotchin…. | The Wider Debate - NZ's Finance Companies Investigated()

  • naylor

    Jesus, what is up with the Herald’s coverage of Hotchin. Those self-important pricks at the Press Council do feck all and you only end up with a small correction notice buried deep within the paper somewhere.

    Hotchin should sue the arse off the Herald for their obvious persecution of him. Now that would sell the paper. Bring in that skinny prick Bernard Hicky as well who believes his site is so important to the financial well being of NZ. If he spent as much time actually researching his posts as he does on twitter then perhaps people might take him seriously.

    Maybe Hotchin’s mate Watson should launch a cruise missile from London at this useless bunch of reporters and see how they like being taken through the courts by the two of them.

  • 666nzpr

    Walk into the casino with $100,000 in your back pocket and think youre gonna walk out with $310.000? , think again idiot.
    No one made anyone invest in Marks proposals’
    Suckers!!!you Lost Again!!!