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Maori leader faces court on fraud charges

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 3/08/2016

Prominent Maori leader Sir Ngatata Love has gone on trial in Wellington over an alleged $1.8 million connected to a Wellington property developer.

Love has pleaded not guilty in the High Court at Wellington.

He first came under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office in 2012 over allegations relating to his time as chairman of the Wellington Tenths Trust.

He allegedly took payments to show favour to an Auckland property developer who wanted to develop a site in Pipitea Street, Wellington.

Love's partner Lorraine Skiffington was also charged, but had her court case stayed last year because of illness.

His son Matene Love served six months home detention after pleading guilty to a charge linked to the same developer.

Love, a Maori academic and Waitangi Treaty negotiator, was named a Principal Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2009 and travelled to London to be knighted by Prince Charles just months after knighthoods were restored.

His trial is expected to take three weeks.

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