Yang Liu

How to buy/sell citizenship and get away with it

Otherwise known formerly as the “Inquiry into decision by Hon Shane Jones to grant citizenship to Mr Yang Liu“. (PDF 539KB)

The Office of the Auditor-General has delivered their report and the 86 pages outline chapter and verse how a wanted Chinese national blew smoke up the collective bottoms of MPs and ministers and at the same time pulled the wool over their eyes.

Shane Jones escapes serious censure, mainly because he used the “dog ate my homework” excuse and also the “I didn’t understand” excuse. These weasel-ly excuses aren’t accepted by parents and school teachers yet a man who held a ministerial warrant and someone whom David Shearer has been holding a space open on his front bench did. He was taking the big bucks, and his excuses are pathetic.

What is more pathetic is Labour’s spin that this report exonerated Mr Jones.  It does not. Instead it questions the process that existed that various Labour MPs and ministers used to get a substantial donor into the country.   Read more »

Random Impertinent Questions

With the Prime Minister now talking openly about stripping Yong Ming Yan/Bill Liu/Yang Liu of his citizenship:

The Prime Minister says New Zealand citizenship could be stripped from a mysterious Chinese millionaire who obtained a New Zealand passport despite multiple identities.

But it would require the use of special discretionary powers.

Everyone knows that “Yong Ming Yan” or “Bill Liu” isn’t who he says he is.

It’s now an open secret he uses a variety of different names, identities and aliases, including to obtain a New Zealand passport, and he was helped by his friends in the Labour Party.

Despite this, he still remains a New Zealand citizen. So the question is: does this damage the integrity of the Kiwi passport?

“That’s probably the reason why this matter is now before the Auditor General and clearly Shane Jones has got some big questions to answer,” says Prime Minister John Key.

It isn’t just Shane Jones that needs to answer some questions as well. But before he answers those questions he needs to sit down Shane Jones and get to Dover Samuels and Rick Barker and ask them the following questions…and not just take their fob off answers…he needs to really dig down intot he questions in case they come back to bite him on the arse.

So what are those questions he needs to ask?

  • Did Dover Samuels, Rick Barker and Shane Jones ever receive any donation to or for their campaign/election accounts? If so were they declared?
  • Have they received any payments either directly or indirectly via close relatives into an account controlled by themselves or controlled by a close relative?
  • If such payments were received were they declared to IRD, the Electoral Commission and/or other statutory authorities?
If I were David Shearer I would be wanting proper answers to those questions.

Smelly as a smelly thing

NZ Herald

The Bill Liu/Yong Ming affair is getting smellier and smellier. You rally have to wonder how much money this guy gave to Labour to get the sort of pretection he did:

Seven government agencies wanted to join a raid on Metropolis tower apartments owned by a wealthy Chinese businessman later granted citizenship in controversial circumstances.

A search warrant was executed on the apartments owned by Bill Liu – also known as Yang Liu, Yong Ming Yan and now William Yan – on the 35th floor of the tower in Auckland in June 2007.

Officers took more than an hour to search individual rooms, such were their size.

He was under investigation by the Department of Labour for immigration fraud at the time and documents released under the Official Information Act show that other law enforcement agencies wanted to be part of any raid at the property.

The police were going to execute the warrant with Immigration officers alone – until approached by the Ministry of Fisheries, the Department of Internal Affairs, Customs, the Serious Fraud Office and the Inland Revenue Department.

Eventually, the group decided that 13 investigators from the police, Immigration, Customs, IRD and Internal Affairs would search the Metropolis apartments and cars.

“The number of staff reflected the size of the residential area to be searched – five units in a hotel and three vehicles,” according to documents released by Immigration New Zealand.

However, “no documents were seized and/or evidence retained as a result of the search warrant.”

Mr Yan later complained, through his lawyer, that customs officials stepped outside the authority of the warrant by taking photographs inside the apartment.

The raid happened at the same time as Labour MP David Cunliffe, the Immigration Minister at the time, was considering an application from officials to have Mr Yan’s residency revoked.

The grounds for revocation were that he had failed to disclose the Yong Min Yang identity, the fact that he was married in Australia and was wanted by the Chinese authorities on an alleged fraud.

Mr Cunliffe declined to revoke his residency and asked officials to continue investigating the potential immigration fraud.

The following year, Mr Yan was granted New Zealand citizenship by Labour Party minister Shane Jones against the advice of officials that he did not meet the good character test, because he had two passports with two names and two birthdates, and was wanted in China for an alleged large-scale fraud.

A good summary of facts

Keeping Stock

Inventory have a good summary of facts on the Bill Liu affair…this is one bone he has been chewing on and has the best coverage of the whole case:

Nine months before Liu was granted New Zealand citizenship, David Cunliffe received advice from Immigration New Zealand officials. That advise was that Liu was suspected of having multiple identities and multiple passports. On that basis, Cunliffe, then the Immigration Minister was asked to consider revoking Liu’s permanent residence. Cunliffe chose not to take this course of action.
So here are some links to ponder:

NZ Herald 7/4/2010: The citizenship was granted nine months after officials advised the Immigration Minister at the time, David Cunliffe, that dual identities allegedly used by Yan were grounds to revoke his permanent residency. 

Stuff 19/5/2012: Three months later, bank accounts he held in Australia were frozen and in June 2007, $4m was sent to the Chinese Government. Yan was not convicted of any offence – he agreed to the repatriation without an admission of liability – but allegations swirling around him were so serious immigration officials suggested his permanent residency be revoked.

NZ Herald 31/1/2009: By 2007 Immigration officials recommended Liu’s permanent residency be revoked on grounds that he had allegedly provided false information.

NZ Herald 4/7/2009: The citizenship was granted nine months after officials advised the Immigration Minister at the time, David Cunliffe, that dual identities allegedly used by Liu were grounds to revoke his permanent residency. 

And lastly, InvestigateDaily 3/12/2011:
Jones, as Associate Immigration Minister, was presumed to have seen immigration files on Yang Liu, in addition to his role as delegated Internal Affairs Minister. It was in that latter role that Jones gave Liu New Zealand citizenship, against the explicit warnings of officials who told him Liu’s identity was believed fake and that his citizenship application was fraudulent.

Internal Affairs sources have told TGIF that a recommendation also went to the Minister of Immigration recommending Liu’s permanent residency be revoked while it was still possible to do so, but the Minister overturned it.

TGIF spoke to then Immigration Minister Clayton Cosgrove who denied any involvement with the Liu case and said such cases would normally have been handled by the Associate Minister. Cosgrove subsequently told us this week he’d received a verbal briefing from officials confirming they believed Liu’s residency had been obtained fraudulently, and that he was under investigation. But Cosgrove reiterated he had never seen Liu’s file or received any written briefing.

Yet our OIA request to the Immigration Service for the file to Shane Jones recommending residency be revoked turned up a surprise answer:
“Papers of that nature were sent to a previous Minister of Immigration and are withheld,” confirmed Api Fiso, the Group Manager for Border Security at the Immigration Service.

With Cosgrove out of the picture, that left his predecessor David Cunliffe in the gun. It now appears Cunliffe was, like Jones, explicitly warned about Yang Liu’s fraudulent residency application, yet for inexplicable reasons chose not to revoke the Labour party donor’s visa when he had the chance.

There are plenty more links that we could list, but we reckon that we’ve risen to Judge Holden’s challenge, and then some.

Anyone squirming yet?

Stuff.co.nz

Finally the Bill Liu case has made its way through the court system and is finally being heard.

A millionaire naturalised Chinese New Zealander who used senior political connections to win citizenship has gone on trial in the High Court, Auckland, today on five charges linked to claims he created a false identity.

In a case that has been before the court for nearly two years, Yong Ming Yan, 41, has pleaded not guilty to five charges over claims he created a false identity in China to get citizenship.

Justice Timothy Brewer is hearing the case without a jury.

Originally Yan was charged with 12 offences but these, the court heard, had been reduced due to issues with evidence from China.

Yan, also known as William Yan, Bill Liu and Yang Liu, arrived in 2001.

He got citizenship with letters of support and lobbying from Labour’s Dover Samuels and Chris Carter as well as National’s Pansy Wong.

The Department of Internal Affairs opposed citizenship saying with two passports, two names and two birth dates they did not know who he was. Then Immigration Minister David Cunliffe over-ruled and granted citizenship.

A large donor to the Labour party, his private VIP citizenship ceremony held in the Maori Affairs Select Committee room and ministers ignoring official advice..David Cunliffe and Shane Jones are the only ones left standing in this sorry affair. I wonder if perhaps they might be a bit worried.

We can at least look forward to three weeks of political intrigue as the trial unfolds.