Government ties revealed in Chinese businessman immigration case
A wealthy Chinese businessman accused of making false declarations on immigration forms had close ties with MPs, a court in Auckland has heard. William Yan, who is also known as Yong Ming Yan and Yang Liu, had the support of several government officials when his citizenship status was granted, although all the politicians deny that they did anything wrong.
Yan, who was granted citizenship in 2008 under the name Yang Liu but changed his name to William Yan two days later, met Shane Phillips at a Labour Party fundraiser in 2005, the High Court heard. After meeting with Yan and his partner again, Phillips told the millionaire that he could help him gain citizenship in New Zealand for $10,000. In court, he told Yan’s lawyer that he did this because he knew Yan was successful and he hoped they could do business together in the future.
Shortly afterwards, Phillips took Yan to vineyards in New Zealand and spoke about the prospect of exporting wine to China. He then met with Rick Barker, the minister of internal affairs for the Labour Party at the time. Phillips admitted that he and his "long-term work colleague" discussed the possibility of Yan investing in the country, but denied that they discussed his immigration status.
In a crucial statement for the defence, Phillips told the court that he completed Yan’s immigration form on his behalf. The defence claims that that Yan was not aware of any errors on his form and did not intend to mislead the country’s immigration authorities.
It was also revealed that National Party MP Pansy Wong wrote in support of Yan’s application, as did former Labour MP Dover Samuels. Both parties also admit receiving $5,000 donations from the Chinese businessman before the country’s 2008 elections.
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