One of the men accused of masterminding New Zealand's biggest political sex scandal is caught in the fallout of a TV expose after taking ownership of a company previously accused of shonky loan deals.
Luigi Wewege, 29, left the country after helping expose Auckland mayor Len Brown's affair with Bevan Chuang.
He is understood to be back in Auckland and working with wealthy immigrants as director of companies including New Zealand China Development Group, Vivier Investments, and Nikau Global.
It is the name Vivier that is in the spotlight after an Irish current affairs show aired allegations that it was the new name for a company originally called Home Funding Corporation. That company targeted desperate cash-strapped people by giving them quick loans with very high interest rates. One distraught borrower told the TV programme a loan worth $76,000 turned into a $2 million debt mountain.
Another two borrowers told how they were intimidated and left feeling suicidal by the company's behaviour.
Those behind the TV show said the ploy "made those behind it filthy rich and left a path of devastation among those who fell victim to it".
Home Funding Corporation changed its name to Vivier Mortgages Ltd and ownership switched to Wewege, the programme said.
Wewege has now taken legal action to clear his name.
The Irish Times reported that High Court documents showed Wewege and Vivier Mortgages Ltd were plaintiffs in a case against broadcaster RTE and journalist Ryan Conor.
The defamation suit was filed on Friday, February 13.
Wewege did not respond to the Herald on Sunday's request for comment.
Wewege, a South African from Amanzimtoti of Italian heritage, left New Zealand shortly after the story of Brown's affair with Chuang broke.
His boss, defeated mayoral contender John Palino, was accused of plotting to pressure Brown into resigning on grounds of ill-health.
Palino and Wewege denied wrongdoing but both went to ground after the publication of texts and Facebook messages suggested they pressured Chuang and schemed to destroy Brown's career.
Wewege, who also spent time around Orlando in Florida, returned to New Zealand last year and reunited with Palino election volunteers.