Sharechat Logo

Agria, Lai fined $220,000 for good character breaches

Thursday 21st March 2019

Text too small?

PGG Wrightson’s largest shareholder Alan Lai and his company Agria have been fined $220,000 and ordered to pay another $30,000 in costs by the High Court for breaching good character conditions imposed by the Overseas Investment Office.

The breaches arose from Lai and Agria’s settlement last year with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission over violations of US securities law.

In imposing the fine, Justice Christine Gordon said the nature and extent of the breaches were serious.

“There is a strong need to deter breaches of the good character requirement, having regard to its importance in the context" of the Overseas Investment Act, Justice Gordon said.

The penalty was needed to ensure that large corporations take their obligations under the Act seriously, she said.

OIO general manager Vanessa Horne welcomed the decision.

“The judgment reinforces that overseas investment in New Zealand is a privilege and there are ongoing responsibilities when investing here.”

Agria has been ordered to pay $100,000 in penalties while Lai has been ordered to pay $120,000 in penalties and another $30,000 towards the OIO’s costs.

Horne says the size of the penalties reflects the serious nature and extent of the securities violations alleged in the US, which involved fraudulent accounting and share price manipulation.

As part of its settlement with the OIO, Agria agreed to divest its interest in Wrightson to below 50 percent, which it did in December last year. Agria, which is a Cayman Island registered company, now owns 46.6 percent of Wrightson.

Lai, who used to chair Wrightson and is also known as Lai Guanglin, is a citizen of Singapore who lives in Hong Kong.

(BusinessDesk)

  General Finance Advertising    

Comments from our readers

No comments yet

Add your comment:
Your name:
Your email:
Not displayed to the public
Comment:
Comments to Sharechat go through an approval process. Comments which are defamatory, abusive or in some way deemed inappropriate will not be approved. It is allowable to use some form of non-de-plume for your name, however we recommend real email addresses are used. Comments from free email addresses such as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc may not be approved.

Related News:

MARKET CLOSE: NZX50 tops 10,000, growing 284% in past decade
NZ dollar little changed ahead of Australian CPI data
NZX50 cracks 10,000 level as weak kiwi boosts A2, F&P Healthcare
Zespri signals upside for grower payments in 2020
Bathurst maintains guidance despite reduced Stockton output
ComCom conditionally approves Knauf-USG merger
23rd April 2019 Morning Report
NZD below 67 US cents after US data lifts greenback
MARKET CLOSE: NZX50 gains 1.8% this week, buoyed by rate outlook
NZ dollar falls against Aussie after strong Oz jobs data

IRG See IRG research reports