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Hong Kong jail for failed Crafar buyer

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 6/06/2016

A Crafar Farm in Reporoa. © SNPA A Crafar Farm in Reporoa. The businesswoman who failed to buy the Crafar farms in 2010 has now been sentenced to more than eight years' jail in Hong Kong for fraud.

Natural Dairy's May Wang, 53, along with Chen Keen, 48, also known as Jack Chen, were the masterminds and prime movers of the fraud scams, says Justice Anthea Pang Po-kam.

Wang was jailed for eight years and three months while Chen received a term of seven years and nine months. Another man, Yee Wenjye received a five-year term.

They have also been disqualified from managing any companies for 10 years.

The three were earlier found guilty of two conspiracy charges while Chen was also guilty of dealing with property believed to be the proceeds of crime.

Hong Kong's Independent Commission against Corruption prosecuted the trio and in a statement on the sentencing thanked New Zealand's Serious Fraud Office for its help.

The court was told the trio conspired to defraud the Hong Kong stock exchange in 2009 and 2010.

The three were involved with China Jin Hui Mining Corporation, which traded in iron ore and later changed its name to Natural Dairy.

In 2010, the company bought $HK85 million ($NZ15m) in shares of company UBNZ Asset Holdings, from UBNZ Trustee, but the trio did not reveal they were also behind those companies - which meant the deal got shareholder approval.

The court was also told they falsely represented the Crafar Farms assets and profits as being worth $17m - despite them losing about $30m - when Natural Dairy was raising money to buy the farms.

Later in 2010 Wang was declared bankrupt in New Zealand the deal was rejected by the Overseas Investment Office.

Receivers later sold the farms to China's Shanghai Pengxin for a reported $210m.

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