Masalas net mil­lions

Central Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - HAMISH MCNI­COL

Three prop­er­ties as­so­ci­ated with the Masala In­dian restau­rant chain have net­ted al­most $8 mil­lion at auc­tion.

The three prop­er­ties, in Auck­land’s Mt Eden, Birken­head and Stan­more Bay, were sold this week af­ter be­ing seized as part of a $34m re­strain­ing or­der granted over more than 30 prop­er­ties linked to the chain back in 2015.

The chain reached an $8m set­tle­ment with In­land Rev­enue and po­lice ear­lier this year.

The Mt Eden prop­erty sold for $3.61m, Stan­more Bay for $1.73m and Birken­head for $2.54m.

A spokesman for Bay­leys, which sold the prop­er­ties, said there were 109 in­ter­ested par­ties in the auc­tion room for the three auc­tions.

In­land Rev­enue, Im­mi­gra­tion New Zealand and the De­part­ment of Labour started in­ves­ti­ga­tions into com­pa­nies and in­di­vid­u­als in­volved with the Masala chain in 2012.

‘‘Those in­ves­ti­ga­tions iden­ti­fied wide­spread and sys­temic tax eva­sion and im­mi­gra­tion-re­lated of­fend­ing by those in­volved with the Masala group,’’ Jus­tice Re­becca Edwards said ear­lier this year.

The group reached an $8m set­tle­ment for as­set for­fei­ture with IRD and the po­lice in Fe­bru­ary, which the judge said.

The prop­er­ties were used as premises for Masala restau­rants or to ac­com­mo­date staff of the Masala re­lated com­pa­nies.

‘‘The set­tle­ment sum is ex­pected to be met in full through the sale of re­strained prop­er­ties.’’

Bay­leys North Shore com­mer­cial agent John Al­gie said the three prop­er­ties were op­er­at­ing as In­dian restau­rants but would suit a range of uses. These were the In­dian Lounge restau­rant in Mt Eden, Chut­ney Mary Fu­sion in Birken­head, and Pa­prika in Stan­more Bay.

* The Auck­land Masala restau­rant chain is not af­fil­i­ated with the Masala cafe and bar in Welling­ton.

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