Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has started moves to strip disgraced New Zealand-born businessman Sir Ron Brierley of his knighthood.
Brierley pleaded guilty to three charges of possessing child sex abuse material in the Downing Centre Local Court with 14 charges withdrawn.
Brierley’s barrister admitted he possessed “some images” but the exact figure is “in dispute”.
A spokesperson for the prime minister said Ardern had asked for the forfeiture process to be initiated.
Brierley will have 30 days to respond, but after that the prime minister can write to the Queen asking her to cancel his appointment to the Order and he will be asked to return his insignia.
The New Zealand businessman was arrested in December 2019 on six counts of possession of child abuse material.
Border officials had found child sexual abuse material on his laptop and electronic storage devices.
Brierley will next appear in court on 30 April.
He was one of the best known New Zealanders of the 1980s and 1990s – never far from the headlines or a new business buy-up.
Brierley became both feared and revered in business circles for his shrewd ability to spot companies with untapped value, which he would then take over and turn around for vast profits.
The “corporate raider” – as he’s usually referred to – founded Brierley Investments, which was one of New Zealand’s largest most successful and glamorous companies of the 1980s.
He was an expert at what admirers called “corporate rationalisation” – the ability to spot when to buy a company and reform it to extract more value.
The NBR’s 2019 Rich List estimates Brierley’s net worth is about $220 million, putting him at number 82 on the list of the wealthiest New Zealanders.
More to come…