The Herald reports:
Charges filed by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) over a Labour Party donation reveal an alleged illusion was created to conceal the amount and identity of the true donor, while providing them with “freedom from any public scrutiny”.
Documents released to media this afternoon by the Auckland District Court show six people – a solicitor, public servant, social worker, and three businesspeople – face 12 charges.
The SFO filed the charges yesterday after an investigation into donations made to the Labour Party in 2017.
Each of the accused is charged with two counts of obtaining by deception over a donation of at least $34,840 for the Labour Party on about March 28, 2017. The SFO alleges the identity of the donor was not disclosed in the party’s annual return of party donations.
The donation return does not show a donation of 28 March, but does show a $17,000 one on 29 March. May be coincidence.
The group are accused of adopting a “fraudulent device, trick or stratagem” where the donation was paid via an intermediary account before being paid to, and retained by, the Labour Party.
Court papers also allege the group provided five names to “create the illusion” of five donations of sums of less than $15,000 to conceal the amount and identity of the actual donor.
If you want to donate over $15,000 in a year then you identity should be known. Trying to hide your identity makes you suspicious of why.
Speaking to reporters today, Prime Minister and Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern claimed the numerous SFO probes into political party donations was an indication the current system is not working.
“Let’s do something about that,” she said, “so let’s look at the law”.
That’s a nonsense claim. The prosecutions show the law is working.