Zespri under investigation by SFO
The Serious Fraud Office has confirmed to NBR ONLINE that it is investigating statutory kiwifruit monopoly Zespri.
The confirmation comes just days after NBR revealed a Shanghai-based importer's claims that 151 containers of kiwifruit were seized by China customs in 2011, in spite of Zespri consistently denying that any kiwifruit had ever been seized by China customs.
In recent weeks NBR has also been at the forefront of exposing what many argue are questionable and irregular operational practices at both Zespri and the self-declared "Zespri watchdog" NZ Kiwifruit Growers Inc (NZKGI), which shares the same building as Zespri in Tauranga.
SFO says it has opened a preliminary investigation, but won't say what it's looking at.
Zespri released a statement this morning in response to the SFO inquiry.
"Zespri has not been contacted by the Serious Fraud Office and has no details of the scope or substance of an investigation," it said in an emailed statement. "Zespri will cooperate with any investigation the Serious Fraud Office may undertake."