Crafar bidders face High Court action

By Edward Gay

May Wang and Jack Chen (pictured) were charged with corruption in Hong Kong late in 2011. Photo / Richard Robinson.
May Wang and Jack Chen (pictured) were charged with corruption in Hong Kong late in 2011. Photo / Richard Robinson.

The Crown is seeking millions of dollars worth of real estate owned by the pair behind the failed Crafar Farms bid.

May Wang and Jack Chen, who is also known as Chen Keen, are facing new legal action in the High Court at Auckland.

The Police Commissioner has filed for restraining orders relating to rural property and real estate in Auckland.

The move comes after New Zealand police were asked for help by their counterparts in Hong Kong to go after the real estate.

The property has been restrained ahead of a hearing expected to take place in the High Court at Auckland.

Wang and Chen were arrested in Hong Kong in late 2011 over business dealings said to have happened in New Zealand while Wang was trying to buy 16 of the Crafar dairy farms.

Wang is alleged to have conspired with Chen who was then an executive director of Natural Dairy Holdings Limited.

The pair are alleged to have offered two properties in Auckland and a sum of over HK$73 million ($NZ11.8m) to Chen. It is alleged that these were offered as rewards for Chen to procure Natural Dairy to acquire UBAH, a company owned by Wang.

Wang also faces charged with laundering NZ$150 million in crime proceeds between December 2009 and December 2010.

At the time of the alleged offence, Natural Dairy was listed on the Main Board of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong.

Neither Wang nor Chen were at court today during the brief hearing.

Commissioner of Police lawyer Mark Harborow applied to extend the foreign asset restraining order.

Wang and Keen's lawyer, John Billington QC, did not oppose the extension and the matter will be called again later this month.

Serious Fraud Office acting director Simon McArley said a preliminary hearing for the criminal charges would take place in Hong Kong in September.

Wang was the front woman for a bid on the Crafar farms in 2010 but the Overseas Investment Office declined the application after Wang failed the character test.

- APNZ

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