Maybe we now know why National’s economic policy release was such a fizzer. They were all preoccupied with news of more donation scandal affecting the party about to emerge.
I was doing my best to write something deeper about tax cuts when this nuclear bomb sized piece of scandal broke. The SFO charges concerning $100k donations to the National Party involved not one donation but two.
From Tim Murphy at Newsroom:
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 alleged deception involved is splitting the donation so that it did not have to be disclosed.
The donation discussed by Bridges and Ross in that infamous call occurred in 2018.
And it is also alleged that the fourth person went as far as supplying to the SFO false information. The allegation is that this person “[i]n 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.”
Again from the Newsroom article:
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.
For people getting excited about Winston’s use of a photo can I just say I agree it was wrong. But perspective is required. A NZF member taking an opportunistic photo then sharing it on a site of ill repute is not the same as alleged multiple breaches of donation reporting requirements that result in SFO charges.
And National’s attack on the Greens yesterday for being silent “on electoral fraud” strikes new levels of hypocrisy.
There are interim suppression orders in place. Please be respectful of these.