Crafar fraud case - third person charged

Crafar Farm cattle. Photo / Christine Cornege
Crafar Farm cattle. Photo / Christine Cornege

Hong Kong authorities have charged a third person alleged to be an accomplice to fraud involving the spurned Natural Dairy NZ bid for the Crafar family's dairy farms.

Singaporean national and New Zealand resident Yee Wenjye, also known as Eric Yee, has been charged with one count of conspiracy by Hong Kong's Independent Commission Against Corruption and appeared in court in Hong Kong yesterday.

He's accused of conspiring to defraud Hong Kong exchange listed Natural Dairy, its shareholders, and directors by falsely representing the 22 farms owned by CraFarms Group made a profit of $18.5 million in the year ended March 2009.

Yee joins May Wang and Jack Chen in the dock. The pair were charged last October for conspiring to offer two Auckland properties and more than HK$73 million to Chen as payment for procuring Hong Kong exchange-listed Natural Dairy to acquire UBNZ Asset Holdings, which was owned by Wang.

Two other charges allege between December 2009 and December 2010 Wang dealt with the sales proceeds to UBNZ Asset Holdings, including two convertible notes worth NZ$150 million, which represented proceeds of an indictable offence.

Wang's UBNZ unsuccessfully tried to buy the Crafar family farms in 2010, which it then would have on-sold to Natural Dairy, having its application to the Overseas Investment Office turned down after failing to meet 'good character' tests.

Wang, now known as May Hao, and Chen, also known as Chen Keen, also reappeared in the Hong Kong court yesterday.

The New Zealand Serious Fraud Office investigated the Crafar farm sale, and worked with Hong Kong authorities.

Chief executive Adam Feeley said "our law enforcement efforts can be most effectively applied to supporting the ICAC case through the evidence of SFO forensic accountants involved with the investigation."

- BusinessDesk

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