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SFO tosses out Affco's complaint against union

Thursday 12th April 2012

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The Serious Fraud Office has batted away any suggestion it will probe the New Zealand Meat Workers & Related Trades Union’s books, saying an initial evaluation didn’t find any evidence of fraud.

The white collar crime investigator won’t follow up on a complaint by meat processor Affco New Zealand that the union’s financial statements omitted millions of dollars it paid in member fees, it said in a statement. Chief executive Adam Feeley directed any issues regarding regulatory compliance to the Registrar of Incorporated Societies.

“We encourage any member of the public to contact us where they have any reasonable grounds to believe that a serious financial crime may be taking place,” Feeley said. “However, it is equally important that the resources of law enforcement agencies are not unnecessarily drawn into matters where other, more appropriate, courses of action are available.”

Affco lodged the complaint yesterday, claiming the union’s accounts showed irregularities. The meat processor, wholly owned by the Talley family, is locked in an industrial dispute with the union, with workers locked out amid ongoing strike action.

The union dismissed the complaint as a stunt to distract attention from the dispute.

The parties were due to meet for mediation today, and the Employment Court is set to hear the union’s claim over the lockout on April 23 and April 24.


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