Asset freeze orders put on Chen, May Wang

May Wang. Photo / NZ Herald
May Wang. Photo / NZ Herald

A final freezing order has been slapped on millions of dollars of property tied to Crafar Farms bidders Jack Chen and May Wang.

The High Court in April imposed an interim foreign restraining order on four multimillion-dollar properties, four North Island farms, shares, bank accounts and a BMW X5 registered in Chen's name.

The interim order - which restrains Chen and Wang from disposing of, dealing with or diminishing the value of their properties - was made at the request of Hong Kong authorities, who arrested the pair in late 2011.

Chen and Wang are facing charges over business dealings said to have happened in New Zealand while Wang was trying to buy 16 of the Crafar dairy farms.

The interim order has been extended and amended several times while the High Court has considered an application from the Commissioner of Police for its formal registration.

The commissioner also requested ancillary orders to allow the official assignee to Wang's company, UBNZ Asset Holdings (UBAH), to sell assets and pay debts and interest owed on the farms.

Chen and Wang's lawyer, John Billington QC, opposed both the restraining order and the ancillary orders, which he argued were far more extensive than what Hong Kong authorities requested.

In a High Court judgment, delivered today, Justice Patricia Courtney made a final order to register the restraining order sought by Hong Kong authorities.

She also allowed the ancillary orders sought by police, noting in her judgment that the purpose of the restraining order was to preserve the monetary value of the property.

Chen and Wang are alleged to have offered two properties in Auckland and a sum of over HK$73 million ($11.8m) to Chen. It is alleged that these were offered as rewards for Chen to procure Natural Dairy to acquire UBAH.

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

Wang was the frontwoman 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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