Another fraudulent $100K National Party donation | The Jackal

18 Feb 2020

Another fraudulent $100K National Party donation

So the Serious Fraud Office has another secret $100,050 National Party donation before the Courts in a major scandal that looks set to quash any chances Simon Bridges had of winning the 2020 election.

Yesterday, Newsroom reported:

The Serious Fraud Office prosecution of four people over donations to the National Party involves not one but two $100,000 donations - in June 2017 and June 2018 
Court charging documents released to the media by order of Auckland District Court Judge Edwin Paul today show that three of the four defendants - whose names are suppressed ahead of a hearing next week - each face two joint charges of deception over a sum of $100,000 donated to National in 2017 and $100,050 donated to the party in 2018. The maximum penalty if convicted on the charge is seven years' imprisonment. 
The fourth person is charged jointly with the others only over the second $100,050 donation - but also faces one charge of providing misleading information to the SFO.

Of course misleading investigators is also an offence with the maximum penalty imprisonment for one year or a fine not exceeding $15,000.

The SFO describes the offending over the donations in these words: "The defendants adopted a fraudulent device, trick or stratagem whereby the ... donation was split into sums of money less than $15,000 and transferred into bank accounts of eight different people before being paid to, and retained by, the National Party."
For the fourth person's charge of misleading the SFO, the charging document says: "In the course of complying with a requirement ... of the Serious Fraud Act 1990 supplied information knowing it was false or misleading in a material particular." 
The SFO says of that charge that this defendant told investigators a $100,000 sum transferred to their account was a deposit for a building on another person's property - when the money had been intended as a donation to the National Party. Further, in 2019 the defendant created, signed and back-dated a contract to that end, when no real contract for that work existed. The office alleges the made-up contract copied wording from an unrelated contract.

Under the Crimes Act a person convicted of document falsification is liable to imprisonment for a term of up to 5 years or to a maximum fine of $200,000.

However the real kicker here is the charge documentation which indicates that the people being prosecuted were simply following the directions of the current National Party leader, Simon Bridges.

Here’s exactly what Bridges said while talking with Jami-Lee Ross about the secret $100,000 donation from Zhang Yikun.

Jami-Lee Ross: The money’s fine sitting there in the Botany account. I don’t know what your arrangement is with Goodfellow or not, that’s all. 
Simon Bridges: So we need to tell them, I get that. I get that. I’m going to tell him – I think he’ll accept it, I just need to explain to him what it is I want it for.

Apparently Bridges wanted the secret $100,000 to pay for “some more attack ads” on the Government. As a side note, the National Party recently lost an appeal to the Advertising Standards Authority over a Facebook ad that had been ruled misleading.

Uh, unless I get him to come along to, unless I get him to – leave it with me, I might talk to McClay as well, see what he’s got up his sleeve. Cause Peter is going to be at this meeting with me in Wellington, that’s all. If I then brought him after that – good work though man, that’s a lot of money.

So there you have it...Bridges said he would talk to Peter Goodfellow, the President of the National Party, about how best to handle the secret $100,000 donation from Zhang Yikun, a wealthy Chinese businessman who was led to believe that he was paying for another Chinese MP to be instated in the National Party.

However what the other $100,050 hidden donation was paying for is at this stage anybody’s guess? In the absence of Simon Bridges coming clean, we're left to ponder about what exactly another large and secret payment to the National Party was actually purchasing?

There are some clues though. On Q+A last Sunday, Bridges had a disastrous interview where he let slip that if elected National would remove the foreign buyers ban that limits foreigners purchasing property in New Zealand. Perhaps this sort of policy change, which would obviously favour Chinese property investors who have substantial financial backing from their Government, is what the donor purchased with such a large sum of money?

Bridges removing this ban doesn’t make much political sense otherwise. In fact such a change would obviously worsen the housing crisis, a problematic issue that the National Party has been at pains to target in their numerous attack ads against the Labour led Government.

The fact that the unscrupulous National Party once again tried to hide a large donation means it was likely provided to pay for something that the voting public wouldn't accept or in the very least view with distaste. Why else would you attempt to hide such vast amount of money from public scrutiny? Why else would you mislead the SFO about it?

Simon Bridges really should be questioned thoroughly by our mainstream media about this, because he is ultimately responsible. As opposition leader he cannot distance himself from major fraudulent activity in the National Party that appears to be undertaken with his knowledge and consent.

The democratic country of New Zealand, which is apparently the least corrupt in the world, needs to make sure that elected officials act in the best interest of all citizens, not just those who can afford large and secret donations. Public officials being bought by the highest bidder isn’t an acceptable part of our political system, which must be changed to ensure that dishonest politicians who make policy for cash are removed from positions of power quickly and effectively.

Clearly Simon Bridges was directly involved in how at least one of the secret $100K donations were handled. The National Party should therefore be getting ready for a leadership change; otherwise they again risk trying to back somebody who is completely lacking in any semblance of credibility.