NZ: motive for Zespri fraud probe remains unclear

More News Most Read Today's Headline
NZ: motive for Zespri fraud probe remains unclear

New Zealand kiwifruit company Zespri has fallen under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office, although further details on the case were not yet available.

Knowledge of the prelimenary investigation went public Monday due to media reports that uncovered the probe. A Zespri spokesman said the company had not been previously informed and had no further detail on the case.

"Zespri has not been contacted by the Serious Fraud Office and has no details of the scope or substance of an investigation.  Zespri will cooperate with any investigation the Serious Fraud Office may undertake," a Zespri spokesperson told and other news outlets.

New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers president Neil Trebilco said that although the SFO has confirmed the investigation by phone, the office will not provide greater detail.

"Nobody knows anything. The SFO is not saying. All they are saying at this point is that they are doing a preliminary investigation on Zespri. We don’t know what that means or know what it’s about. The only reason we know about it is because we got told by a journalist late Monday afternoon New Zealand time," he told

"Our organization, New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers, we don’t know anything and I talked to Zespri this morning and they still don’t know anything either."

SFO investigations cover multi-victim investment fraud, fraud involving those in important positions of trust such as lawyers, bribery and corruption.

The probe comes shortly after a Chinese court found a Zespri subsidiary guilty of under-declaration of customs duties on kiwifruit imports.

The ruling established a NZ$960,000 (US$817,000) fine against the China-based subsidiary, Zespri Management Consulting Corporation (ZMCC), and a five-year jail term for employee Joseph Yu.

Related story: Ruling in Zespri smuggling case upheld by Chinese court


Subscribe to our newsletter