Mainzeal director facing bankruptcy as creditors chase lost money

Tradies owed money after the multi-million-dollar Mainzeal collapse want one of its directors to pay up or go bankrupt. 

Grant Price is one of 14,000 creditors owed a total of $110 million after the construction company went into liquidation in early 2013.

Price and his metal business Heatwave Mechanical are out of pocket by tens of thousands of dollars.

"We have swallowed it painfully and got back into business and hope that those are involved in it are held accountable for the mess it's turned into," he says.

Those involved in the company's collapse are the four directors including former Prime Minister Dame Jenny Shipley.

They have all been found to have been recklessly running the company while it was insolvent and the High Court in Auckland ordered the directors to pay a total of $36 million.

Richard Yan, the businessman who was the head of Mainzeal's Chinese parent company, was ultimately the most to blame for the collapse and has been ordered to pay $18 million.

But 16 months later and he still hasn't paid a cent.

Yan claims he has no money to pay it but he could be forced bankrupt in a hearing on Friday. 

His lawyer David Chisholm told Newshub on Thursday he'll defend the bankruptcy action while he appeals last year's court order.

But Price says he finds it "very hard to believe" Yan doesn't have the money, and so too do the liquidators of Mainzeal.

They wouldn't talk, but Newshub understands they're pointing at Yan's assets to prove he's wealthy, including a slice of land on Auckland's swanky Orakei basin and a house in the central suburb of Epsom, both of which are held in trusts. 

They claim he benefited from the sale of a $430 million property in Shanghai and are questioning if he moved assets out of creditors' reach after he was found liable. 

Newshub tried to talk to Yan but he couldn't be found at his Auckland residence and his lawyer Chisholm wouldn't confirm where he is.

"Listen I can't even give you that information. As I said, it's in the evidence that he's overseas, he resides overseas."

But creditors have a message for him.

"Front up, be counted, let's see if he's insolvent or bankrupt, otherwise pay up," Price says. 

If he's bankrupted, liquidators could chase his assets to recover the money, as bruised businesses get back on the tools to make up their losses.