Trio found guilty in $54m fraud
out of the loop about the fraud.
‘‘For cultural reasons, pride and a certain degree of arrogance, Huang concealed the fraudulent payments from his wife,’’ Simperingham said. employees forged Xu’s signature on four loan applications.
Huang and Xu were bankrupted in 2010, and were discharged in 2013.
About 14 months after they were declared bankrupt, the pair set up construction company LV Park, which is at the centre of the fraud.
Unable to borrow from the major trading banks, LV Park made sham arm’s-length sales to obtain bank loans via the use of false documents.
The false documents used fake identification and names of employees, friends and family.
The fraudulent activity involved 75 properties. There are three banks involved in the case – ANZ, BNZ and a third that has name suppression.
Lawyers for former BNZ bank employee Jiang and lawyer Chen kept their defence argument short, asking the judge to keep an open mind and to wait to hear from the forthcoming witnesses.
The SFO laid more than 100 charges against the group in October 2016.
A fourth associate allegedly involved in the fraud, former ANZ banker Peter Cheng, fled overseas before his arrest. The tourism industry says it’s important money gathered through a new international visitor levy is wisely spent and it is still unclear how it will be allocated.
Tourism Industry Aotearoa chief executive Chris Roberts is confident the levy of $25 to $35 a head will not deter international visitors from coming here, even though those paying online via a new electronic travel authority (ETA) will face an additional $9 charge.
He said the decision to exempt short-haul markets such as Australia and the Pacific islands from the levy was undoubtedly tied to the Closer Economic Relations agreement with Australia, but it was an important concession that the industry had pushed hard for.
‘‘It was that trans-Tasman market where it could have an impact on because it’s price sensitive, especially the holiday market, and with even a small increase Australians could decide to go to Bali or Fiji instead of New Zealand.’’
Roberts said it was not clear how the money collected – an estimated $57 million to $80m a year – would be split between conservation and tourism, what sort of projects should be funded, how the decisions should be made, and by whom.
Those details are yet to be hammered out in the consultation process launched yesterday. The range of options outlined in the Government announcement ranged from basics such as building toilets to developing visitor attractions.
‘‘It needs to be wisely spent … on behalf of the visitors who are paying; the tourism industry needs to have a say on where the money goes,’’ Roberts said.
The Tourism Export Council, which represents inbound tour operators and other tourism businesses, is heartened by the prospect of more money to improve infrastructure.
Chief executive Judy Chen said the council’s members were supportive of the levy only if it was invested back into the industry, and she said collecting the money via the ETA was a good option.
‘‘One seamless process of collection at point of entry is also a far better option than numerous and varying targeted rates put in place across the country by local councils, as we have started to see emerge.’’
Queenstown Lakes District mayor Jim Boult said he was disappointed with the Government’s proposal because a bed tax was a more ‘‘logical’’ way of funding infrastructure, and he would keep lobbying for it.
From left: Gang Chen, former BNZ employee Zongliang Jiang (at rear), and Kang Xu have been found guilty of charges laid by the Serious Fraud Office.