Chinese businessman Jack Chen – wanted on multimillion dollar corruption charges in Hong Kong, cultivated strong links to New Zealand politicians, including Labour leader Phil Goff, Prime Minister John Key, and former Prime Minister Jenny Shipley. The details are contained in an Investigate story from June last year.
An official notice from the company to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange says:
“Mr Chen immigrated to New Zealand in 2002 and has been participating in community services in New Zealand since then. He later established the New Zealand Chinese Business Roundtable Council, which serves as a channel for the cooperation and communication between Chinese entrepreneurs, and the entrepreneurs and politicians in New Zealand.
“Mr Chen’s national and social contributions to New Zealand were recognized by the ruling party and Phil Goff, the current leader of the ruling party, was invited to be the patron of the council,” says the stock exchange advisory of May 9, 2009.
So far, so good. It is clear Chen has traded on his political clout, although the statement doesn’t elaborate on precisely how “Chen’s national and social contributions to New Zealand were recognised by the ruling party”.
According to the letter to Investigate, Chen’s bad reputation in China for the securities offences meant he needed the credibility of political connections in New Zealand if he was going to attract investment.
“The only reason people still believed him this time is NZ governing party Labour is fully behind them,” said our correspondent – arguably out of touch with the election result but perhaps not surprising given the May 2009 press release above still referred to “Phil Goff, the current leader of the ruling party”.
“Your trade minister Phillip Goff is the Patron of Mr Chen’s Business Roundtable. Mr Chen told many of our shareholders that he had the big brother backing up him.”
He’s the second high-profile Chinese businessman linked to NZ politicians to face charges. The first, Yang “Bill” Liu was also outed by Investigate magazine in a series of special investigations we’ve done, like the Yang Liu case, which repeatedly busted open the links between a wanted Chinese criminal and New Zealand politicians.