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Third executive named in Fuji Xerox civil suit

Wednesday, 14 February 2018
By Graham Osborne
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The High Court in Auckland.

Former Fuji Xerox New Zealand chief financial officer Mark Allright has been named as the third defendant in a High Court civil suit launched by the company after a $450 million accounting scandal.

Mark Allright, former CFO Fuji Xerox New Zealand.

Allright’s identity had earlier been suppressed but his application for continued interim name suppression was dismissed by Justice Pheroze Jagose following a hearing last week at the High Court of New Zealand in Auckland.

The two other executives previously identified in court documents are former managing directors Neil Whittaker and Gavin Pollard.

Pollard last year launched a legal challenge to win back his job, claiming he’d been made a scapegoat by the company. Pollard was dismissed in August 2017, two months after an independent investigation ordered by parent company Fujifilm found that incomes at Fuji Xerox subsidiaries in Australia and New Zealand had been inflated by $450 million.

The report also revealed that Whittaker had been paid more than $1 million to leave his job as MD of FX Australia soon after the accounting irregularities were uncovered.

The judge also dismissed an application by New Zealand’s National Business Review (NBR) to inspect and publish the parties’ statements of claim and defence in its newspaper and online.

Justice Jagose said access to the files for the purposes of balanced reporting was likely to “beg more questions than it answers,” according to a report in The New Zealand Herald.

“Reporting of only the defendants’ bare formal denials in the face of the plaintiffs’ detailed reports is not balanced or fair,” he said. “To the extent there is public interest in the plaintiffs’ conduct and allegations, I consider presently it is outweighed by the orderly and fair administration of justice while the parties’ pleadings are developed for trial.”

Fuji Xerox NZ, Fuji Xerox Finance and Fuji Xerox Asia Pacific filed civil proceedings in the High Court last September against the three former senior executives following the release of the independent report that identified a “sales at any cost” culture at the Australasian subsidiaries.

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