A wealthy businessman allegedly stole $129 million in his homeland and concealed the fortune in New Zealand through complex money laundering transactions, while forging political links to support his controversial citizenship bid.
One transaction is alleged to have been a $2.3 million sum "filtered" through Auckland's SkyCity casino to buy an apartment in the Metropolis tower with cash, while large shareholdings in Kim Dotcom's Mega were held by trusts and companies in other people's names.
William Yan - also known as Bill Liu, Yang Liu and Yong Ming Yan - has made headlines for his links to the previous Labour government and the decision to give him a New Zealand passport, despite having multiple identities and an Interpol alert against his name.
The Weekend Herald revealed a raid on his penthouse Metropolis apartment in August when police seized millions of dollars of assets including his 18.8 per cent stake in Mega, the online encryption service founded by Dotcom. No criminal charges have been laid against Mr Yan and his lawyer Paul Wicks, QC, said his client "strongly denies any wrongdoing in any jurisdiction".
Mr Yan has said he made his fortune legitimately as a businessman and the two identities he came to New Zealand with, Yong Ming Yan and Yang Liu, are valid because he was fostered out by his birth parents in China. Both sets of parents registered him as part of their household with different names and dates of birth, said Mr Yan, and the Chinese Government considers him an enemy because he is associated with Falun Gong and is pro-democracy.
But court documents obtained by the Weekend Herald show new details of the case against Mr Yan in which Chinese authorities claim the 43-year-old "orchestrated several complex deceptions" in a $129 million fraud - the first time this figure has been revealed - when he was the chairman of a pharmaceutical company in 2000.
The sworn statement of Detective Inspector Bruce Good claims Mr Yan is an "economic fugitive" from China and, together with partner Vienna You, had brought a significant amount of money into New Zealand since arriving here in 2001 through alleged "large scale money laundering transactions".
"Police believe that Mr Yan and Ms You have accumulated a substantial asset base in New Zealand and are concealing the true ownership of those assets by registering or purchasing the assets in the names of associates, using the assistance of professionals and other persons mentioned in this affidavit," Mr Good alleged.
The ongoing money laundering inquiry has probed Mr Yan's gambling at SkyCity, the purchase of expensive homes and luxury cars and bank transactions, as well as his alleged stake in Mega and other companies.