Yealands Wines Pleads Guilty to MPI Charges
Yealands Estate Wines Ltd today pleaded guilty to five charges laid by MPI in the District Court at Blenheim. These relate to inaccurate internal wine records and the making of false statements in export eligibility applications under the Wine Act 2003. Today, the Company was fined $400,000 on the basis that it was legally responsible for the actions of some former staff members.
These issues relate back to the export of some wines between 2012 and 2015 and the way in which this was dealt with by some former staff members. The wines were destined for European Union markets and were not sold under Yealands brands.
The charges relate to EU rules about how wine can be sweetened. The practices that were followed in these cases were usual and proper practices for most countries but they contravened the EU rules and therefore theexport certification requirements of New Zealand.
An audit by MPI discovered incorrect and false recordings in some instances from 2012 and 2015. This led to charges being laid against the Company which as a matter of law, is responsible for the actions of its staff.
The Company is under different ownership from its ownership when these events occurred.
Yealands has cooperated fully with the MPI investigation as soon as the errors were brought to their attention in early 2016. CEO Adrian Garforth said that the Company had taken immediate and decisive action to remedy the issues well before any charges were laid.
“Systems we have introduced, training and comprehensive audits mean that our wines are fully compliant, and breaches of this kind will not happen again. These events which predate my appointment do not reflect our company values and our desire to do everything to the highest possible standard. We have taken these charges very seriously. In any business errors can occur; what is important is the response and we believe we have done everything possible to ensure that this could never happen again” he concluded.
Statement issued by Adrian Garforth MW, CEO Yealands Wine Group Limited