Minter Ellison’s former CFO pleads guilty to £1.8m theft

Minter Ellison’s former South Australian and Northern Territory chief financial officer Craig Raneberg has admitted stealing A$2.7m (£1.8m) from the firm at a hearing in an Australian court.

Raneberg was arrested last October at Sydney Airport on his way to Thailand for allegedly defrauding his employer. The police reportedly started investigating Raneberg in June 2011, when Minter Ellison discovered financial irregularities in an internal audit.

Before the Adelaide Magistrates Court last Friday, Raneberg pleaded guilty via his lawyer David Mullen of Andersons Solicitors to 70 counts of dishonestly taking property without the owner’s consent, with the theft amount totalling A$1.6m.

According to prosecutor Michelle Roberts-Thomson, Raneberg has also signed a letter admitting 121 further unauthorised transactions to be considered by the court, but he is not facing prosecution on those transactions. Roberts-Thomson said the total amount Raneberg had admitted to stealing from the firm was A$2.7m.

Court documents filed at the time of his arrest alleged that Raneberg defrauded the firm between August 2003 and June 2011, stealing as much as A$43,000 in one go and wiping banking records to cover his activities.

Minter Ellison’s South Australian and Northern Territory practice is a separate partnership from other members of the legal group.

It is understood that Raneberg’s assets have been frozen as Minter Ellison seeks compensation for the stolen cash. Raneberg will be remand in custody until his arraignment in the District Court of South Australia on 16 April.

Minter Ellison appointed Andrew Mailler from Fibrelogic Pipe Systems as its new South Australia and Northern Territory CFO in June 2011.

Minter Ellison could not be reached for comment.