Maybe the Kiwis aren't so clean after all
Friday, May 30, 2014 at 8:08AM
Julie DiMauro in John Banks, Lou Vincent, New Zealand, OECD, Serious Fraud Office, Transparency International's 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index, Zespri, cricket

New Zealand has ranked best for eight straight years on TI's corruption perceptions index. But that spotless reputation has been tarnished lately by bribery scandals in business, politics, and sports.

Several top cricket players faced bribery allegations last week for alleged rigging of games in two English county matches in violation of England Cricket Board's anti-corruption code. One former New Zealand player, Lou Vincent, hasn't denied the allegations, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.

A lawmaker, John Banks, is on trial for knowingly receiving political donations from two companies that were recorded in official returns as anonymous, a violation of New Zealand's campaign reporting laws.

In business, New Zealand's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is investigating kiwifruit exporter Zespri. A Zespri subsidiary in China was found guilty there of being an accessory to under-declaring customs duties.

The China court fined the unit $960,000, sentenced its employee to five years in prison, and saod improper gains of $11.6 million should be repaid. 

The SFO has also recently convicted 18 directors and officials from eight financial firms that faltered during the 2008 global financial crisis.

In October, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said it had "serious concerns" about New Zealand's lack of enforcement against business people who may be offering bribes in foreign countries.

The report reasoned that "outdated perceptions that New Zealand individuals and companies do not engage in bribery may undermine detection efforts."

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Julie DiMauro is the executive editor of FCPA Blog and can be reached here.

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