An Australian company has won government consent to buy assets from Sydney-based multi-millionaire octogenarian businessman Sir Ron Brierley, who faces criminal charges in that country.
This week, the Overseas Investment Office released its latest decisions, which included one involving Brierley selling a holding in a business that has a stake in a big-marine entity near Westhaven Marina on Auckland's waterfront.
In Australia, Brierley faces charges for alleged possession of child pornography. On December 17, the 82-year-old was arrested at Sydney Airport as he was about to board a plane to Fiji, according to a statement by NSW Police.
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Detectives searched his carry-on luggage.
"The contents of his laptop and electronic storage devices were reviewed, which are alleged to have contained large amounts of child abuse material," NSW Police said.
He has been charged with six counts relating to possession of child pornography.
This week's Overseas Investment Office decision gave consent for the transfer of ownership of some units in a business with a stake in 3.5ha of land classified as sensitive because it is on Auckland's waterfront in Beaumont St in the city's Wynyard Quarter.
ASX-listed Ariadne Australia, 98 per cent in the hands of those across the Tasman, would increase its ownership interest in the Orams NZ Unit Trust from 50 per cent to 80 per cent if approval was granted, the office said.
Orams Group has the long-term leasehold interests in the 3.5ha of land, where it is developing further marine facilities.
"The applicant has demonstrated that the investment will enhance the viability of the benefits created by a previous consent by ensuring efficient development of the marine facilities on the land, ahead of the America's Cup in 2021," the decision said.
"There will continue to be some control and partial ownership of the development by New Zealanders. The applicant has also demonstrated that it has provided benefit to New Zealand through previous investments."
Brierley was deemed to be a 100 per cent New Zealand party for the sake of the consent decision.
In May, the Herald reported how the Kiwi businessman would remain on bail in his luxury Sydney mansion over child pornography charges as a court heard police say they were only halfway through studying alleged abuse material on his computer.
Brierley was not required to appear in Sydney's Downing Centre Local Court in May.
A brief hearing before NSW Chief Magistrate Graeme Henson was told that police prosecutors needed more time to examine material allegedly found in Brierley's possession.
In August last year, the Herald reported on Brierley getting consent for another $51.4m deal to prepare for the America's Cup.
The office has just granted consent for Orams Group, 30 per cent owned by Brierley, to extend its leasehold interests by 3.5ha at Beaumont St in the Wynyard Quarter for 125 years, that article said.
The OIO issued a separate statement, telling of Oram's plans for the land. "It has previously been reported that Orams is developing the site ahead of the 2021 America's Cup race, and it expects to have maintenance and refit facilities for the extra vessels that will be in Auckland for the event," a statement from the OIO said.
"The company is paying Auckland Council-owned Panuku Development Auckland $51.5 million for the 125-year lease of 3.5ha of land. The investment will introduce new marine facilities and specialist machinery," it said.
Special consent was needed due to the property's waterfront location, deeming the land sensitive under the Overseas Investment Act.
Orams says it has more than 30 marine specialist businesses on its 19,274sq m site and can handle "almost anything marine, but especially superyacht refits, equipment and motor repairs, boat maintenance, boat storage and sales.
"Our marina can berth superyachts up to 90m. The adjacent Orams Marine Village Boat Park is Auckland City's largest purpose-built dry stack facility and is the easiest place to store and access a boat in the Auckland CBD. Corporate event organisers are also using the boat park space as a unique venue for conferences and events," it says.
Orams is half-owned by ASX-listed Brisbane-headquartered Ariadne Australia, with Gary Weiss holding 18 per cent of that. That business owns investment management and financial services, car park infrastructure operation and management, property and maritime infrastructure ownership and operations.
In June last year, Brierley, said he would retire from his business aged 81, sending a statement to the ASX, where his vehicle Mercantile Investment is listed.
On Monday, Ariadne's board which includes executive director Gary Weiss issued a statement to the ASX saying it had won OIO approval to buy the additional 30 per cent equity interest in the Orams NZ Unit Trust. Orams NZ Unit Trust would now become a subsidiary of Ariadne and its results would be consolidated in Ariadne's result.
Ariadne shares are trading around 41c on the ASX.