The Susan Couch – Crime Victims Charitable Trust

Kiwiblog readers have been doing detective work and have discovered the Susan Couch – Crime Victims Charitable Trust was registered only a few weeks ago on the 10th of September 2008.

It’s trust deed is online at the Companies Office.

The trust deed was signed on 15 August 2008 and the application was signed on 20 August 2008. But Winston announced the donation around 16 June 2008. So how did he make a donation to a trust that seemingly was not then formed?

The contact person is Brian Coburn of Hesketh Henry in Auckland. He is one of the three Trustees. The other two are Brian Henry and Dennis Gates.

Yes two of the three Trustees are Winston’s personal lawyers – his solicitor and his barrister!! Half the $158,000 has gone to a trust run by both his personal lawyers.

The settlor is Kevin Gillespie, an Auckland Accountant. Gillespie, Henry and Gates are all Directors of Goldman Henry Capital Management and in business together. They had some problems with the Securities Commission in 2004 incidentally, after the Commission found their prospectus did not comply with securities law and omitted a material particular. The investment statement was also found “likely to deceive, mislead, or confuse with regard to particulars that are material to the offer of securities”.

The Trust objects include “such other objects which the Board from time to time declares provided that such objects and purposes are charitable and involve the support and rehabilitation of crime victims”.

Board members can get remuneration for services rendered to the Trust. In fact it specifically allows such remuneration even if the work only comes about by virtue of being a Trustee. Note I am not suggesting any Trustee has received any money – just that as with most Trusts, they can.

There is no reference to Susan Couch in the trust deed, except being the name of the trust. Couch is not listed as the Patron, and the three Trustees have total power over the Trust.  She is not listed specifically as a beneficiary either. Again the Trustees have total discretion over who the money goes to (so long as within the objects), and Couch has no rights or say at all. So the Herald is wrong when they say it is “A trust for Susan Couch”.

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