Business reporter for the NZ Herald

Fraudster May Wang appeals

May Wang was found guilty of fraud charges in Hong Kong. Photo / Nick Reed
May Wang was found guilty of fraud charges in Hong Kong. Photo / Nick Reed

Failed Crafar farms buyer May Wang is appealing her convictions and her eight-year jail sentence.

Wang, also known as May Hao, was found guilty of two charges of conspiracy to defraud relating to her attempts to buy the North Island farms.

Her co-accused, Jack Chen, was found guilty of the same charges and also convicted of an additional count of dealing with property known to be the proceeds of crime.

Wang was last month sentenced to eight years and three months' jail in Hong Kong and Chen was sentenced to seven years and nine months' jail.

At the pair's sentencing, Madam Justice Anthea Pang Po-kam said Chen and Hao were masterminds and prime movers of the fraud scams, which had a grave impact on the general public and the stock market.

But Wang is now challenging both her convictions and sentence, her lawyer has confirmed The Herald understands that Chen has also lodged an appeal.

Wang, 53, is best known in this country as a failed purchaser of the 22 North Island dairy farms known as the Crafar Farms.

Sixteen of the farms were eventually bought in 2012 by China's Shanghai Pengxin, for a sum thought to be about $200 million.

According to prosecutors, Wang and Chen induced Hong Kong-listed firm Natural Dairy to acquire the Crafar Farms from one of her companies.

Although the Crafar Farms were on the brink of bankruptcy, Wang falsified accounts so they appeared to be in substantial profit.

She and Chen failed to declare they had an agreement to share the commission arising from the sale and purchase of the farms.

Unaware of this relationship, and ignorant of the true state of the farm's finances, prosecutors say Natural Dairy approved the acquisition and in 2010 raised HK$955m ($186m) to finance it.

Four of the 22 farms were purchased for $25.5m in February 2010 and in May a deposit was paid for the remainder of them, pending Overseas Investment Office (OIO) approval of the transaction.

But later that year Wang was declared bankrupt in New Zealand and then arrested with Chen in Hong Kong. A week later, the OIO refused to grant permission for the purchase of the remaining farms.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 26 Sep 2016 10:06:45 Processing Time: 582ms