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We have nothing to hide: Natural Dairy

Friday 22nd October 2010

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Natural Dairy, the Hong Kong-listed company trying to buy the Crafar family farms, says it has “nothing to hide” from the Serious Fraud Office.  

Yesterday, the white collar crime investigator said it was having a look at the purchase of the farms to see whether there was any wrong-doing by Natural Dairy and Auckland-based Chinese businesswoman May Wang’s UBNZ group of companies after the Overseas Investment Office passed on information to the SFO.  

“Our company has nothing to hide and we are confident the SFO will discover no irregularities in the transactions we have accomplished in New Zealand,” vice-chairman Graham Chin said.  

The investigation is the latest in a slew of probes announced by the SFO in recent days. 

It added new investigations into South Canterbury Finance and the WSD group of companies that were formerly chaired by ex-Progressive MP Matt Robson to its growing list of cases, this week. 

In its annual report, the department complained of being overstretched and it had to cut its active caseload in the last financial year. 

UBNZ’s Wang said she was “disappointed and surprised” with the way the SFO made the announcement, which came late yesterday.  

Neither Wang nor Natural Dairy had been alerted to the investigation before the announcement, they said.  

The announcement came the same day Natural Dairy’s company secretary, Chan Yim Kum, resigned for health reasons.

She follows former chairman Yip Kean Mun and director Ng Chun Ming, who both stepped down from the board last month, paving the way for Auckland businessman Jack Chen’s nephew, Wu Neng Kun, to head the investment company’s board.  

Chan has been replaced by Ng Yat Fung Miranda, who is a director on Natural Dairy’s New Zealand subsidiaries.  

Natural Dairy scaled back its plans to spend up to $1.5 billion buying up land, livestock and processing facilities, and will instead focus on the Crafar farms.

Last month, the OIO pooh-poohed reports it had shot down Natural Dairy’s bid to buy the farms.

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