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Prominent Kiwi businessman headed to prison for indecently assaulting men, trying to cover it up

A prominent businessman has been sentenced to prison for indecently assaulting younger men and trying to cover it up.

The prominent Auckland businessman at his sentencing on indecent assault and attempting to dissuade a witness convictions on May 27. Source: 1 NEWS

After being found guilty by a jury of the charges earlier this year, Justice Geoffery Venning sentenced the businessman today at the High Court in Auckland to two years and four months imprisonment.

Despite being sentenced today, he continues to have name suppression.

His lawyer intends to appeal and apply for bail.

Two of the three men who were assaulted by the businessman gave victim impact statements in court, with the third man's statement being read out by Crown prosecutor Simon Foote.

"This man was someone I respected and trusted," said one man.

"I have never forgotten what happened that night and I have relived it dozens of times over the past 20 years," said another man.

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The man, who still has name suppression, was also convicted of trying to cover up the crimes. Source: 1 NEWS

"This complete lack of understanding or apology infuriates me," another man said.

He described the rich-lister as "selfish and dangerous".

Despite being found guilty, the businessman has maintained his innocence.

Prior to sentencing, the prosecution called for a sentence of imprisonment.

"There is no remorse," Foote said.

But the businessman's lawyer, David Jones, called for discounts to applied.

"What we have are three incidents, some eight years a part...In my submission, it doesn't reflect who [the businessman] is."

He said "extensive and comprehensive" letters of support had been provided to the court.

The businessman also has health difficulties that are "very concerning", his lawyer added. 

It would be "disproportionally severe" for a sentence of imprisonment to be imposed, he said.

ASSAULTS

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Prominent Kiwi rich lister found guilty of sexual assault and cover up attempt

During the trial, the three men who accused the businessman of sexually assaulting them took to the stand to give evidence.

One man had been invited to the businessman's house for a dinner in the early 2000s.

 “He was just so close, sort of looking me over. Like I was an object, I wasn’t a person. Something he was critically judging,”

But when he left the house, and went to shake the businessman's hand, he said the rich-lister thrust his hand down his trousers, underwear, and grabbed his genitals.

“He grabbed it pretty hard,” said the man.

“It was just the smell I most remember...the muskiness, the sweat, alcohol.”

A second man gave the court a similar account of when he visited the businessman's house in 2008 - after he too had been invited for dinner.

He claimed the businessman drugged him during his visit, which ended after he claimed the businessman squeezed his bottom saying, "you have such a nice ass" and kissed the back of his neck.  

A third man said he was staying at the businessman's house when he said he was assaulted in 2016.

He told the court he was sick that evening, but when he was in his bed the businessman climbed into his bed, "spooning" him.

The man said the rich-lister reached inside his shorts and began masturbating him.

After being taken to hospital, he told nurses and then the police about what happened.

BRIBERY ATTEMPTS 

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Bribes and body bags discussed on secret recording in trial of rich lister accused of indecent assault

The businessman, his manager - who also has name suppression - and Auckland performer Mika X have also been convicted on charges relating to attempts to bribe that complainant to drop their police complaint.

The first attempt was in Auckland, where Mika X offered a $15,000 cheque and work opportunities in exchange for dropping the complaint.

But the man secretly recorded the conversation.

"Dissolve it, get rid of it, let's get you started on this career, and let me ascertain some funds from [the businessman] at some point - which won't be hard, I can assure you of that," X could be heard saying on the recording, which was played in court.

After the Auckland bribery attempt failed, another attempt was made on the Gold Coast in Australia. There, Auckland PR operative Jevan Goulter and his friend Allison Edmonds posed as New York talent agents and met the man at the Palazzo Versace hotel.

That bribery attempt was also unsuccessful, and Goulter, Edmonds, and the businessman's manager met several days at Family Bar on Karangahape Road in Central Auckland. Edmonds secretly recorded the conversation, which was played in court.

"My friend's Samoan. He'll either [inaudible] or put him in a body bag. You decide which," Goulter could be heard saying.

"I refuse for either of us, and hopefully you've got the same for yourself, to go to jail for this s***," he later said.

The manager can also be heard "joking" about sending the complainant to Turkey.

"Just jokingly, I was like why don't we just send [the complainant] on a trip to Turkey?" he is heard saying.

"... Istanbul traffic accident, gypsies there are cheap man, they do it for $200 US."

The trio also spend time discussing money, including the PR agent's fee and how much it might cost to find the complainant a job - in exchange for withdrawing his complaint.  

Goulter and Edmonds have immunity from prosecution, despite admitting their part in the crime.