Three of four men facing Serious Fraud Office charges over two $100,000 donations to the National Party have applied for a judge to lift their name suppression.

The change of heart comes after the men brought an urgent application for suppression on January 31, just two days after the SFO filed charges against the group.

Judge Eddie Paul granted all four temporary secrecy and said in his judgment the hearing was rushed through after 5pm in the Auckland District Court after journalists indicated they would identify the accused in the next 24 hours.

"Counsel appeared for various parties not even properly dressed for court," he said.


"It seems to me the Criminal Procedure Act anticipates that there is some restraint exercised by the media until the first appearance so that the proper exercise of defendant's rights can be exercised. Publication now would, in my view, abrogate those rights and that simply cannot be permitted."

However, three of the men have today asked a judge to revoke the order, according to a public relations firm hired by the trio.

"Three of the four defendants appearing in court next week following a Serious Fraud Office investigation into National Party donations have applied to have the name suppression orders associated with the case lifted," a statement by Pead PR reads.

"Legal counsel for the three defendants confirmed the application is before the Auckland District Court and is currently being considered by a judge."

The group, who are due to appear in court next Tuesday morning, would not comment further while the suppression orders remained in place.

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Earlier today, the Herald reported the SFO's allegations include the use of a "fraudulent device, trick, or stratagem" to split up two $100,000 donations to the National Party.

Court documents, released to the media by Judge Paul, allege two donations of $100,000 in 2017 and $100,050 in 2018 were made "in circumstances where the identity of the donor was not disclosed in the National Party's Annual Return of Party Donations".


"The defendants adopted a fraudulent device, trick, or stratagem whereby the 2018 donation was split into sums of money less than $15,000, and transferred into the bank accounts of eight people, before being paid to, and retained by, the National Party," the papers read.

The same allegation is made by the SFO for the 2017 donation.

The fourth man is charged alongside the other three over the 2018 donation, while also being accused of supplying false information to the SFO.

After the SFO charges were laid, a spokesperson for National leader Simon Bridges said no one in the National Party had been charged.

National Party leader Simon Bridges, who has not been charged, has denied any wrongdoing over how the party has handled donations. Photo / Mark Mitchell
National Party leader Simon Bridges, who has not been charged, has denied any wrongdoing over how the party has handled donations. Photo / Mark Mitchell