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China dairy investor's links revealed

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发表于 2010-8-20 12:42:58 |显示全部楼层
A Chinese businessman alleged to be behind ambitious plans to invest up to $1.5 billion in New Zealand's dairy industry has only recently severed his business links with former National Prime Minister Jenny Shipley.

According to Companies Office records, Jack Chen, Jenny Shipley and another investor founded a business together in 2004 called New Zealand Pure & Natural.

Mr Chen quit as a director a year later but only quit his shareholding last month.

A Herald investigation has also revealed that a Chinese bank of which Mrs Shipley is a director is one of the banks which has agreed to help finance the plans - if they go ahead.

A division of China Construction Bank has agreed to subscribe to HK$64.4 million ($11.4 million) worth of convertible bonds, and has an option to subscribe to more if it wishes.

The bonds can be converted into shares in Natural Dairy, the Hong Kong company behind the proposal.

Mrs Shipley was appointed a director of the bank in 2008.

The link could prove politically awkward for the National Party, as the saga over the sale of more than a dozen Crafar family farms in the central and lower North Island drags on.

Their potential sale to Chinese interests has sparked a public debate about foreign ownership and National this week deferred announcing a review of foreign ownership laws, saying the issues had recently become more complex.

Mr Chen is believed to have moved to New Zealand in 2002 - the same year he stood down as head of a public company in China after were found irregularities in its financial records.

He has admitted being fined by Chinese authorities and banned from being a director for three years.

Last year, he was involved in a takeover of a Chinese mining company listed in Hong Kong.

The company was renamed Natural Dairy and it announced plans for a "significant acquisition" in New Zealand.

Mr Chen quit as chief executive and co-chairman of the company after just a few months but complaints have been made to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that he is continuing to control the company behind the scenes. The company has denied the claims.

Mr Chen was unable to be reached for comment.

He admitted to the Herald in April that he had been "the driving force" behind the Natural Dairy proposal.

Natural Dairy has agreed to buy the Crafar farms from Auckland businesswoman May Wang, who has admitted acting on behalf of four mystery investors. Some local Chinese believe Mr Chen is one of them. .

The Herald investigation has revealed several links between Mr Chen and Ms Wang, who is trying to stave off bankruptcy after an unsuccessful foray into property development.

It has also revealed links between Natural Dairy and members of an Auckland group known as the Chinese Business Roundtable Council.

Labour MP Raymond Huo, who is listed as on the Roundtable's executive, said he knew all of those behind the Natural Dairy proposal and initially said that he would be happy to discuss it. But he later did not return the Herald's calls.

Mr Chen has talked about his political ambitions, and has been reported to be setting up a new political party.

(source: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/busine ... p;objectid=10662262)

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发表于 2010-8-20 12:45:04 |显示全部楼层
China link to Nats' $200,000

The National Party has received $200,000 from a wealthy Chinese New Zealand couple linked to the businessman behind the foreign bid for the Crafar dairy-farm empire.

The sum is one of a number of large donations to the party's campaign war chest, which has swelled by $355,000 in recent weeks.

Auckland woman Susan Chou donated $150,000 last month on top of $50,000 the month before.

Her husband, Zhaowu Shen, was until recently listed as an adviser to the Chinese Business Roundtable, founded by Jack Chen - the self-described "driving force" behind Natural Dairy NZ, the Hong Kong listed company seeking to buy the Crafar farms.

The Herald understands Ms Chou and her husband - who has business interests in New Zealand, Hong Kong and Vietnam - have also been long-time supporters of National Cabinet minister Pansy Wong.

Mr Shen and Ms Chou have a history of generous philanthropy.

In 2008, they gave $200,000 to fund relief efforts following the Sichuan earthquake and the same year, Mr Shen's company Contue Jinwan Enterprise Group was a major sponsor of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra's trip to perform at the Beijing Olympics.

The balance of the large donations received by National in recent weeks were $105,000 from upmarket restaurant Antoine's, which is near Prime Minister John Key's Parnell home, and Auckland BMW dealership Team McMillan, which gave $50,000.

Antoine's owner, Tony Astle, has been reported as saying he donated the money because he "loved" Mr Key, who was a longstanding customer at his restaurant.

Team McMillan director Bob McMillan said most of the money donated by his firm was raised during a recent function where Mr Key spoke.

About 180 Team McMillan clients paid "a significant amount" to attend and the firm topped that up to $50,000.

Political parties are required to declare donations of more than $10,000 on the Elections NZ website, which shows the past two months have been good for National.

No other parties have reported large donations this year.

National Party president Peter Goodfellow said he did not wish to discuss individual donors.

"Clearly we've built our war chest and some of our supporters have been generous," said Mr Goodfellow, who has faced criticism over his fundraising abilities.

"What I've done ... is to get fundraising under way earlier, and as the Labour Party has in the past, we've had some pretty substantial donations."

(source:http://www.nzherald.co.nz/busine ... p;objectid=10667439)
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发表于 2010-8-20 12:48:23 |显示全部楼层
Crafar farms - behind the facade

Cayman Islands companies, a mining billionaire, a frontwoman with a chequered past, connections with Kiwi politicians - the Chinese bid for the Crafar dairy farms has everything but transparency, finds Karyn Scherer.

Detail: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/busine ... p;objectid=10662299
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