Zespri to liquidate a company that illegally exported kiwifruit vine cuttings to China
Smiling Face, a kiwifruit exporter, left Zespri with $12 million in damages after illegally exporting gold kiwifruit cuttings to China.
In a process that has lasted well over four years, Zespri, a New Zealand-based kiwifruit producer and exporter has been able to successfully apply to the high court to liquidate the company owned by Haoyu Gao.
According to a Zespri spokesperson in 2020, the High Court found Gao had fraudulently offered to sell Zespri’s kiwifruit varieties and the right to license them to parties in China.
Initially, the damages were at $15 million, but an appeal by Gao in 2021 reduced them to $12 million.
Zespri lawyer Katherine Evans said Zespri had taken enforcement action against Smiling Face and Gao’s assets in New Zealand and continued to work with the court-appointed liquidators throughout the process.