Former National MP Jami-Lee Ross and businessmen, Yikun Zhang, Shijia Zheng and Hengjia Zheng, identified as people facing SFO charges over $200k of donations made to the National Party

Former National MP Jami-Lee Ross and businessmen, Yikun Zhang, Shijia Zheng and Hengjia Zheng, identified as people facing SFO charges over $200k of donations made to the National Party

Former National Party MP and senior whip, Jami-Lee Ross, is among the group of people who face Serious Fraud Office (SFO) charges related to National Party donations.

The other defendants are Chinese businessmen, Yikun Zhang, Shijia Zheng (known as Colin Zheng) and Hengjia Zheng (known as Joe Zheng).

Name suppression on the defendants was lifted on Wednesday at the request of Zhang, Zheng and Zheng. 

Ross said he never asked for suppression, but had his name suppressed along with the others. 

He said in a statement: "While shocked that I had been targeted by the SFO, I had no intention of hiding away. 

“I always wanted to make it very clear that as the whistle blower on this deception, it was outrageous that I was then charged and that others were seeking to implicate me, making me their expendable scapegoat.”

The businessmen's legal counsel said in a statement they were “urged to follow a process and are now deeply disappointed at being caught up in a donations fiasco”.

“Our clients believe they are casualties of the turmoil created through mudslinging during the high-profile fallout following Jami-Lee Ross’ revelations and allegations about the National Party and will be defending the charges against them."

The statement also said the men were proud New Zealanders who had donated to many campaigns and political parties over the years.

The charges relate to donations made to the National Party Botany Electorate in 2017 ($100,000) and 2018 ($100,050).

The SFO investigation came after Ross accused National leader, Simon Bridges, of asking him to collect a $100,000 donation from Zhang, and then split it up into smaller amounts to hide it.

Earlier this week, it was revealed the SFO's investigation involved a second donation. Bridges said he didn't know anything about this donation. 

University of Canterbury professor, Anne-Marie Brady, said in a tweet Zhang had connections to the Chinese Communist Party. 

Zhang is also a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Here is a copy of a blurb about him from the Governor-General’s website:

Yikun Zhang is founder and Chairman of Chao Shan General Association and Honorary Chairman of Chao Zhou Association, through which he has organised a range of events and initiatives for the Chinese community. He established a youth branch of Chao Shan and a scholarship scheme for young achievers. He organised a number of New Zealand enterprises to attend the Canton 21 Century Maritime Silk Road International Expo in China. He organised an economic and trade cooperation conference between New Zealand and Hainan China. Mr Zhang played a key role in securing hosting rights for Auckland to hold the 20th Teochew International Convention.

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103 Comments

29
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Are they Chinese names?
At least you'll know what you'll be getting voting National.
Thanks Jami-Lee Ross.

I wouldn't be so quick on that Thank You, champ...

Thanks

19
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Humm.. Wouldn't it be a coincidence if they all turned out to be CCP members.

51
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Professor Anne-Marie Brady believes Zhang Yikun is on of NZ's top 3 leaders for CCP United front work.

National should be ashamed. This and promoting foreign ownership again is disgraceful. The should be shunted for another three years at least.

18
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Yes you would think that any NZ political party would steer well clear of any foreign government entity, and avoid taking illegal donations (bribes) from them. Especially from one that has such a bad reputation for Human Rights violations. Here's the latest on that: BBC China Uighurs: Detained for beards, veils and internet browsing. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-51520622

Had a beard for over fifty years and been browsing for over 30 years - seems I need a veil.

28
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Yes, fingered as a United Front/CCP front-man, and yet Yikun Zhang was put forward for a Queen's Birthday honour by the National Party. Zhang, who owns $40 million in Auckland property, was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen's Birthday Honours list 2018. Bridges, of course, was unaware of what Ross was getting up to.

The National party, as currently peopled, funded and influenced, is unfit to play a role in our democracy. The trial may bring the whole outfit into disinfecting sunlight, and the party can start again, working for New Zealanders not foreigners.

2018 for NZ order of merit... I do not think that was on Nationals watch. BTW, I am not condoning the donations fiasco, just acknowledging that maybe both parties are complicit.

It was an National party outgoing award. https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2018/10/16/279660/zhang-yikun-and-the-alleged... Zhang was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit as part of this year’s [2018] Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to New Zealand-China relations. At the time, Ethnic Communities Minister Jenny Salesa said Zhang was an effective and tireless community organiser. Last year [2017], the Aucklander also won a Kiwibank local hero award at the New Zealander of the Year awards. (!)

The newsroom article noted that Zhang courted all political parties, including the past Labour leader Andrew Little.

It says nothing about the award coming from the prior year when National was the party in government.

The Chinese labour MP transaction translation of the "let's do this" shows similar pandering to a specific subgroup as National has done in the past.

Both parties are similar in that regard.

27
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All coming to light now! Brilliant. Can't vote national.

12
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Buy backs are essential when investing.

I think someone bought a few. ...into this Country.

I think the National Party did not think anyone would ever notice their affiliations to promote their well being.

Blind as a bat must never be encouraged, when voting. Open your eyes. Kiwis, do not be left in the Dark.

I repeat way too often, when you cannot trust those you voted in to power, then absolute Power corrupts absolutely. And it did absolutely.

Especially when you can keep an eye on the key individuals who benefited the most. It is all over ....the news.

When it pays to lay down with others who prostituted themselves, quite openly...be afraid, be very afraid.

And that you can Bank on...and they did.

Coincidence or espionage?

New Zealanders will beg to vote for Nationals if the current government is to rule the next three years.

We will see.

18
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Really why? Please explain xingmowang?

25
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Because National is the CCP's preferred party, from the sounds of Xi-ngmowang.

Well I wouldn't underestimate the CCP. They will have their bases covered. They are funding National overtly, so Labour must be being funded covertly, the very top of the party will be told about it when the time comes.

19
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I see you really don't associate with many NZers do you? This really going to cause a few National party loyalists to question if they want to vote for National again. Will be interesting to see if their xenophobic (and sometimes outright racist) views win over their right of centre economic and social views or vice-versa.

31
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Neither xenophobia nor racism has anything to do with it. The issue is the scandal to our political life, in the creeping undermining of political honesty, transparency and patriotism, as politicians and parties (one especially so) become ever more beholden to a foreign state and its agents - who together are intensely hostile to every human and democratic right, and who have come to see New Zealand as both a valuable prize and a soft touch. If you value democracy and our country there is no choice but to condemn any corruption of our politics and way of life.

12
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I don't disagree.

23
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It's treasonous, really.

Things like this one is likely to instigate racism and sinophobia,more or less, just like what the coronavirus outbreak did. Because not everyone can think things thru like you. It will be interesting to see how Labour and Nats respond. Last time, Labour's chinese sounding names saga created a massive sinophobia wave and hurted a lot of ethnic chinese voters incl. gen 2 or 3 kiwi chinese, so they didn't vote Labour. I recall a survey showed more ethnic chinese would have voted NZF than Labour.

It certainly doesn't help but I reckon most Aucklanders know and are friends with enough ethnic Chinese Kiwis to avoid broad sinophobia. If you want to hear strong anti-CCP views I can introduce you to a couple of Chinese kiwis. I guess there may be issues in the less cosmopolitan parts of rural NZ .

12
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I have known several right wing and highly successful businessmen over the years, bona fide Nationsl supporters, who are racist to their very bones. Even throw words like 'Chinamen' around, still.
But at the same time cuddle up to the Chinese, for business reasons.
Pretty disgusting.

The C word... so what do you think about people who use the N word

Not sure what you mean

You talked about the Chinamen C word. What do you say of those that use the racial N word

Unacceptable as well, of course

It is. However when black people use the term they are allowed to get away with it.. it's a stupid double standard. Commies and socialists have double standards whereby they buy rental properties and so then they dont act to reduce property prices as it would hurt their own back pocket. Did Helen Clark do anything to make homes more affordable.. NO infact she did the opposite. HC is donkey deep in rentals.

Wow. You managed to make this about Helen Clark and socialists and commies.
The only commies here are the CCP members.

Rockin' out all the talkback buzzwords, he was.

Yes but not all business people are like this.

Just as not all vegans wear tie-died clothes and have long hair...

XMW believe it was agreed that you were not qualified to comment on anything at all until you had convinced us here on this site, that you had red and now understood Catch-22.

18
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Tangled web this one, sticky as candy floss and a not very palatable diet at that for National to enjoy. What were once vices are now habits and the MP defendant one assumes, is poised and prepared, if he is a scapegoat, to take quite a few down with him. Not very good election year medicine.

That depends whether he is a scapegoat, or whether he might have had other motivations - namely entrapping the leader of his party in a donations web of his own making, perhaps? Hard to say. I'm sure it will come out in the fullness of time.

Who let the cat out?

Answered: the 3Zs were happy for suppression to be lifted. JLR's lawyers didn't object.

https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2020/02/19/1041741/jami-lee-ross-one-of-4-cha...

14
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Wow, another Chinese sounding names saga LOL. I remember Prof Brady once said those guys were linked to the PARTY.

a lot of Chinese people i know vote national,
when i have asked why, have they checked all the parties policies out they tell me because national are the Chinese friendly party
i took that as they look after Chinese here more than other parties BUT it does make you wonder when they come from a state where they are told what to do and follow orders

Might be the case for the new migrants, tho i know many ethnic chinese voters ditched Labour last time was solely because of the ramifications of Phil Twyford's chinese sounding names. There could be more chinese chose NZF last time

Nats are also apparently the 'business party', so many Chinese people who are in business will be aligned to that

.

In World War 1 terms; Jami-Lee SIW (self inflicted wound).
Whatever the rights and wrong or ins and outs, to be the one facing charges it seems that he has shot himself in the foot apparently and totally missed Simon.

36
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I don't see how Simon Bridges or the National Party can distance themselves from this. Jami-Lee Ross was their chief whip when these events took place and the money was given to the National Party. 

22
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They will try to, but they can't distance themselves from this. The fantasy of a benign China, a valued strategic partner, willing to take all our commodities, and thus secure our economy, has infected New Zealand politics to such a degree that politicians have fallen over themselves to form relationships with the most dubious of characters. They have been so blind to the idiocy of this fantasy - pushed by the dairying and agri lobby - that the trading of money for influence hasn't even been seen as compromising, let alone corrupt. It is both.

Corruption is Lobbying is Donation. Whatever you call it, Politics in Democracies are full of it. Pun intended.

14
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It would appear Jami-Lee Ross directed these men to somewhat covertly disclose their donations... then recorded himself disclosing to Simon that he had taken in some good donations and we should be ensuring they are looked after. It's totally self-inflicted and it would appear the defence of these guys is going to be "We did what Jami-Lee told us to".

That said, this coming out at the same time Paul Goldsmith is mooting lifting or tinkering with the foreign ownership ban is plain dumb from National. Do they really need chinese donations so bad it risks losing the election... cos that seems to be what is it coming to.

That rests on two assumptions:

1. That Simon had no prior discussion of this matter (but IIRC the phone call referred to them discussing an existing matter they'd discussed before)
2. That he recorded the call to incriminate himself, not because he and Simon had discussed the matter before...

22
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There's no way the party leader doesn't know what the party whip is up to.

The whip is now going to be the flogger, one might suppose.

Theres no need for him to flog. His wife took him back.

12
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It's disgusting. The Nats should hang their heads in shame.
Labour may be incompetent, but at least they are not morally bankrupt...

"but at least they are not morally bankrupt..."

Wouldn't be too sure about that. Remember the jump in Labour Donations when Jacinda was named as Leader. A lot of offshore money put a dollar each way.

Keep the shining that light and bringing disinfectant to these treasonous along with Jenee there Gareth, you truly are an asset.

I want to see some good investigative journalism on this. Pity there's so few outlets in this nation capable of that

Lotto is top story at the herald

reminds me of those WW2 sticky anti tank grenades. Many stuck to the thrower rather than the tank, more modern version of the old French petard of course. Both an appropriate analogy here one might think.

17
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Jami-Lee Ross might have been the one jumping up and down in the muck, but his (former) buddy Simon was standing right next to him. There is a strong odor in the air around Simon, and it ain't roses..

It's coming Simon - we all know Jami-Lee Ross can be a pretty loose goose when he wants to be.

Those “donations” may end up being very expensive.

11
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Winston will be relieved to see how this is playing out and for the precedence.

15
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Kinda hoping to here Prof Brady's take on the intricacies of this transaction spashed all over the msm before the election. It just gets worse and worse looking for National and I doubt that the cornered rat will be holding back on much at all.

Jamie Lee...start a give a little page for your defence. I'll be in.

Well in every Hollywood movie I have seen he will be stopped from testifying in court.
In fact in the movies it would be someone like the CIA behind it, with the CCP taking the fall. Hows that for a conspiracy!

11
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I suspect all major political parties are tarred with the same brush.

But only National were stupid enough to make someone like Jami-Lee Ross a party whip and at this point all donations to the other parties remain anonymous.

Both majors is probably more accurate based on Anne-Marie Brady's Magic Weapons;

Link to the full document here via DocumentCloud;

https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4053774-Magic-Weapons-China-s-po...

13
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Good to give this paper publicity, Kate. It is damning of the lack of principle running right through our main political parties and individual politicians, and thus the ease with which PRC functionaries have been able to subvert our democracy and other institutions. Nor is local government immune to these charges. Wave a dollar at them, and the run of New Zealand politicians, it appears, will do your bidding, no matter the consequence to our nation. The CCP hasn't had to work hard at this. Our political class has been ready to be bought.

it will be interesting to see if they fight it in the courts or take a slap on the wrist fine and walk away free to carry on influencing one of our biggest political parties.
as for JLR his goose is cooked he needs to think about life after politics

Real estate's always on the lookout for new talent...

18
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Jamie and Soymon both look like super slick real estate bullshit merchants

19
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As I understand it JLR was directed to hide the donations according to his recorded conversation with Bridges. He does what he was told to do, but later reveals the conversation to the public and police. That pretty much fits into the description of a whistle blowing situation.
The legal consequences are that JLR is prosecuted and Bridges and the National party get off Scott free.
This is absolutely unbelievable and is a total indictment of our legal system, the National party and our whole political system.
I hope that this trial drags out right up to and through the election. Average NZRs are hopeful not that stupid and have a well developed sense of natural justice. If so this will crucify National.

Might be just the strategic game someone is playing at the SFO?

Had the same thought.

Personally, even if Simon really had nothing to do with how these donations were handled (and that is a huge if), the fact that he used and worked with someone like Jami Lee Ross is enough to discredit him and the National party. How on earth Simon sees himself qualified to be a candidate to run NZ after this disaster is beyond me.

Lie down with dogs get up with fleas. JLR is an obvious narcissist. One and there are many but one of the most worrying things about this saga is Bridges belief in JLR to have him as a close associate. He obviously treated women very badly just for a start. Yet the guy that wants to lead our country trusted him. The whole thing stinks and the National Party is totally gutless for not sacking Bridges over this.

36
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Anyone else interested in televised court proceedings via the Parliament TV Freeview Channel?

Is this the first time criminal charges of this nature are being brought in NZ? If so, I think we have a right to observe these legal proceedings in full, assuming they are open to the public.

Gauging public interest here via the 'uptick' function.

Excellent notion Kate, excellent! More dirty linen on show than even the best Haier could cope with I would wager.

Bring the popcorn

And all along to the theme song of “Pop Goes the Weasel.”

Certainly would be better than the Bachelorette.

"Which bachelorette party is our bachelor Xi going to give a rose, audience?"

The major parties lost support, membership collapsed, I don't think National even has 20k
members, down from 200k plus before MMP.
You need that broad base, they need to be broad based political parties, it's hard to get people enthused when parties are run under MMP by the upper echelons and members have very little input.

Aj, tks that is a staggering change, quite staggering development. Had not given that sort of question any thought at all. That is a graphic pointer to how politics and politicians have lost contact with the grassroots taken as a matter of fact, a vital component, in the yesteryears. Rob and Rob’s mob for instance might have been considered one eyed and all that but at least there was a connection across the divide.

Time for political parties to be funded via $10 voucher for every voter. A bargain - cheaper than selecting a new flag.

By their friends shall Ye know them. What a predicable bunch National are. Next stop abolish foreign buyers ban

Can someone pls explain why Soymon isn't in the dock?

JLR did not have the hard evidence to implicate him and the other defendants said they were acting on instruction from JLR.

Isn't there a tape recording of Soymon instructing JLR?

Yes, in the exchange that was played/reported in the news, it did not clearly implicate SB - it sounded to me like JLR was attempting to lead him into saying something along the lines of an instruction about how the $100K donation should be treated, but he didn't get that admission or instruction. Simon was more implicated in a 'cash for candidacy' way than in how to treat the actual donation.

You can listen to the recording yourself online smalltown, which I did recently. My take is Snake in the grass JLR recorded the convo and tried to put words into Simon's mouth ... JLR sucker he deserves this outcome but now he is whingeing "poor me, why me, mean national I am the fall guy". He has also been getting with female MPs and using them

Found it - the transcript of the conversation he handed to Police;

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/107914931/jamilee-ross-and-sim...

Haha thanks Kate - still hilarious.

the part i find disturbing is the context of payment for list places,
when you add the CCP into the mix it becomes even more disturbing and shows the flaws in the MMP system where people are appointed to the list with no voting.
and that is happening for all the major parties, even their members are not getting to vote on these people they are being parachuted into the party at the whim of the leaders.
if you check out some of the list mps it looks very much like a couple of parties parachuting in members to garner votes from immigrant sections of our population, the reason i say that is you never hear from them or about them and a couple that have been there awhile have proven themselves to be ineffective
we should be able to list in preference members on the list as voters and do away with some of the dead wood
https://www.parliament.nz/en/mps-and-electorates/members-of-parliament/?...

Did Soyman get to meet the PM on his last trip to see the sponsors at the CCP? His mentor JK did when he was visiting them last October.

Meeting a CCP top dog's gotta be like meeting Santa for these guys.
"And and and I want a... a biiiig mansion, with a big swimming pool!" *giggles excitedly*

Ah New Zealand, the land of the k(iwi). Oh sorry I mean latern festival.

Here are some thoughts:
- Leave the one belt one road initiative.
- Close the Confucian Institute (part funded by China).
- Strengthen ANZUS.
- New Zealand becomes the Switzerland of the South Pacific.

This just in, Simon's next announced National policy is proposing renaming the Kiwi to the Xiwi.

Anne-Marie Brady tweeted:
"Zhang Yikun said in a statement via his lawyer that he has been "donating to many political parties and campaigns". It would be good to ascertain who he donated to, & how much. I have gone through
@ElectoralCommNZ reports in the last ten years, & his name does not appear."

NZ the least corrupted country.. My as$..

It's just that our media and police force are totally useless unless they are handed heads on a plate as done by JLR. I go back to the Todd/Farmer Bill escapade in Clueless Southland where Bill admitted to police that Todd had lied about the illegal recording (this was the PM making the statement at the time) yet the police said they did not have enough evidence. What was hidden in all Bill's texts to the electorate manager after midnight that caused the police to back off?

It seems to me that the media are mostly interested in gloating over JLR's "own goal" or downfall and leaving untouched the question of just how deep the CCP's tentacles are embedded in our politics and among our elites. Like him or not, Ross has the information we all need to understand exactly how our politics works and what strings are being pulled from Beijing and by whom.
The fact the Nats have a former CCP member and spy trainer Jian Yang in their caucus who refuses to be interviewed by English-speaking media (and is never instructed to do so by Bridges) is a scandal that should also be brought into the spotlight.
Maybe Ross will tell us more about that situation as well.

Well National might not like socialists but they sure love the Chinese Communist Party. Some would even say they are the Pacific Branch office of the CCP.