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Liquidator of UBNZ Assets: BMW secured as criminal proceeds

Liquidator of UBNZ Assets, original Crafar vehicle, notes BMW secured as 'criminal proceeds'

By Jonathan Underhill

March 15 (BusinessDesk) - UBNZ Assets Holdings, the dairy investment company set up for an unsuccessful attempt to acquire the Crafar farms in 2010, has a BMW vehicle that is still subject to a restraining order under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act, according to the liquidator's first report.

UBNZ was put into liquidation by its owner, Cayman Islands-based Natural Dairy (NZ) Holdings, this month. The report from PwC's Marcus McMillan and John Fisk says Natural Dairy appointed liquidators "primarily to investigate how funds contributed by the shareholder have been applied, and whether these funds are recoverable."

UBNZ was incorporated in May 2009, initially to act as a vehicle for its former shareholders to invest in New Zealand's dairy sector, the report says. May Wang was the original owner although by 2010, Natural Dairy held 20 percent and by 2016 it held 100 percent. It completed the purchase of the farms in February 2010 but the deal was subsequently overturned by the Overseas Investment Office, which said its Hong Kong backers failed the 'good character' test. The Serious Fraud Office launched an investigation into the farm purchase and the role of Natural Dairy and UBNZ. Wang was bankrupted in December 2010 and both her and her backer Jack Chen were subsequently jailed in Hong Kong.

According to the PwC report, in September 2013 the High Court issued restraining orders over the remaining assets of UBNZ Assets and appointed the Official Assignee to dispose of any residual assets. The liquidators said they've contacted the Official Assignee for an update on any remaining assets in its custody. A search of the Personal Property Securities Register shows the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment's Criminal Proceeds Management Unit has held a security interest over a BMW X5 since June 2013.

A spokeswoman for MBIE confirmed that a security interest had been registered "because the vehicle is subject to a restraining order under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009" which is still current.

The liquidators said that given restraining orders were issued over the company's assets more than three years ago "we do not anticipate any insolvent transactions have occurred, however, an investigation will still be completed during the course of the liquidation."

There were no known creditors of UBNZ Assets and the liquidators hadn't received any preferential claims. They were yet to receive any financial records of the company.


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