A senior police officer in China will investigate a wealthy businessman's involvement in a bribery trial and subsequent citizenship application in New Zealand.
The Herald revealed yesterday that Donghua Liu, whose links to the National Party led to a senior minister's resignation, gave cut-price real estate deals to a Chinese politician and received business favours in return. Liu said he was not charged in connection to the corruption case but gave evidence at the 2006 trial which led to a 13-year jail sentence for the political leader who was convicted of accepting bribes.
But his role as a witness has raised questions about his background in China and what was disclosed to New Zealand authorities when he was granted residency in 2005 and citizenship in 2010 - each time against the recommendation of officials.
Immigration New Zealand, the Department of Internal Affairs and the police have shared information on the case and the Herald understands Superintendent Hamish McCardle, the police liaison officer based in Beijing, has been briefed to check records in China.
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Public relations advisers for the respective government departments were tightlipped about the inquiry yesterday.
Donghua Liu in NZ
2005: Donghua Liu granted permanent residency against official recommendation.
2006: Gives evidence of real estate deals in bribery trial in China.
2010: Granted citizenship against official recommendation following support from Maurice Williamson.
2011: Mr Williamson and Prime Minister John Key open Liu's hotel in Auckland.
2012: His company gives $22,000 donation to National Party.
2013: Lobbies Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse to relax migrant investor rules.
Charged with two counts of domestic violence.
2014: Pleads guilty to domestic violence charges.