Chinese businessman innocent of immigration fraud but New Zealand MP in spotlight
Millionaire Chinese businessman William Yan has been found not guilty of all charges relating to making false declarations on a citizenship application for New Zealand. However, the controversial case has raised questions about the conduct of Labour MP Shane Jones who granted Yan citizenship in his role as a cabinet minister.
A decision will be made in the next few days about whether or not an inquiry into Mr Jones’ actions will go ahead. In the meantime, Jones has been forced to stand down as a front bench MP while he attempts to clear his name.
During Yan’s trial, the prosecution alleged that the businessman had managed to gain citizenship, despite advice against it from immigration officials, because he had political influence. Mr Jones granted the request despite being told that Yan did not meet the good character requirement because he was wanted in relation to fraud charges in China and has multiple identities.
Yan, who also has a passport in another name and date of birth, donated $5,000 to both the Labour and National parties before the 2008 election. Three MPs also lobbied for him when he applied for citizenship later in the year.
Jones claims he was told that Yan faced execution in China if he returned. However, questions have been raised about whether or not that required the wealthy businessman to be granted citizenship, as he already had a permanent residency permit.
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