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

A prominent businessman accused of sexual assault and attempting to cover it up has been found guilty of all charges.

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The prominent businessman, who still has name suppression, was also found guilty of trying to dissuade a witness from giving evidence. Source: 1 NEWS

The businessman was accused of indecent assault of three men on three separate occasions — in late 2000 or early 2001, 2008 and 2016.

He also faced charges around attempting to stop the 2016 complainant giving evidence — his manager also faces the same charge.

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The High Court in Auckland has heard evidence including secret recordings and allegations of an elaborate cover up. Source: 1 NEWS

After a day and a half of deliberating, a 12-person jury found both men guilty of all charges.

The businessman stood silently in the dock, while his manager could be seen quietly crying.

Both continue to have interim name suppression.

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The businessman, who has name suppression, is currently on trial in Auckland. Source: 1 NEWS

During the trial, the court heard from the three men who said the businessman sexually abused them.

The earliest two complainants both say they were indecently assaulted when they visited the businessman’s house.

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The High Court has ruled media can’t identified the accused man. Source: 1 NEWS

“There was the smell of the hunt... It felt like a pursuit and each step he’s there,” one man said.

“There was just the feeling of... he found me attractive and there was a reason I was there alone.”

Another man believed he was drugged by the businessman when the rich lister made him a gin and tonic after he arrived at the house.

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The rich-lister, who has name suppression, is accused of assaulting three men. Source: 1 NEWS

“I was beginning to feel dizzy, I was beginning to feel nauseous, I was starting to feel like I had less control over my body,” he said.

The 2016 complainant was staying at the rich lister’s house when he claimed to have been assaulted.

He said he was feeling unwell, when the businessman entered his room, climbed onto his bed, “spooned” him and fondled his genitals.

“It was just making me feel incredibly uncomfortable. I felt even more sick.”

The Crown claimed there were then two attempts to bribe the witness with money and job offers to drop his police complaint — one attempt in Auckland, where an entertainer urged the man to drop his complaint, and a second attempt on the Gold Coast in Australia, where the entertainer was joined by a prominent PR agent and an associate.

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The rich lister is accused of both indecent assault and of instructing others to try and cover it up. Source: 1 NEWS

The Auckland attempt was captured in a secret cellphone recording made by the complainant, while a late night meeting at Family Bar on Karangahape Road following the Gold Coast attempt was also secretly recorded, this time by the associate of the PR agent, who realised she was “up to [her] eyeballs” and she wanted to have “some evidence”.

Both the PR agent and associate have name suppression, and had immunity from prosecution — one of the conditions of their immunity deal was that they had to give evidence if called on upon to do so.

In his closing argument last Friday, the businessman’s defence lawyer, David Jones, said his client had been “painted as an ogre”.

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The prosecution claims the group’s discussing how to stop a witness giving evidence. Source: 1 NEWS

“He has been targeted, very much so,” he told the jury.

“That is one of the drawbacks of being successful and being influential.”

Meanwhile, Crown prosecutor Simon Foote said the businessman was “scared for the kingdom he has built”.