WHALEOIL EXCLUSIVE: John Key’s links to Panama revealed

A detailed and in-depth Whaleoil investigation has revealed shocking new information that will rock the government to its core.

Our investigative team at Whaleoil have compiled the evidence to categorically state that John Key is linked to Panama.

The opposition has been hinting at these links for some time, and even last night Grant Robertson tweeted to that effect.

Robbo Tweet

Today Fairfax has a story from David Cunliffe who has also found some sensitive land that is owned by people linked to Panama. It’s not illegal but it does stink apparently.

The Labour Party claims to have identified the Mossack Fonseca client that was given approval to buy sensitive land in New Zealand.

Labour’s land information spokesperson David Cunliffe has outed the client as Panama company Ceol & Muir Inc – it was given approval to buy 1300 hectares of land at Onetai Station in North Taranaki in 2014 for $6 million.

He said the link was the “tip of the iceberg”.  

Ceol & Muir directors were assisted in their investment by a Mossack Fonseca subsidiary company, Cunliffe said. The three directors hold more than 1400 companies between them.

The current shareholders of the land listed on the Land Information website are not Ceol & Muir directors, according to Labour’s research.

He was not suggesting there was evidence anything illegal had occurred, but he was concerned the current owners did not match the directors of the company approved to buy the land.

He wanted to know what “good character test” the Overseas Investment Office applied to the owners.

“How can the New Zealand public have confidence in the OIO as our goalkeeper, when they have only turned down one application since 2011?”

“They seem to be a wet bus ticket, and I would think it would be a fair bet that this one transaction we know about is the tip of the iceberg.

“There will be many many others linked to Mossack Fonseca and known tax havens.”

The links are there, and Labour has found one. It’s not illegal and answers to questions they haven’t yet thought of need to be answered. It is just another lazy smear from Labour, but they’ve missed the true links to Panama and John Key that they have been seeking.

The Whaleoil investigation can reveal that this has nothing at all to do with the “H Fee” that Labour looked for in 2008. Not at this stage any links with the intelligence community, despite a vital part of the intelligence apparatus being named after John Key (KEYSCORE). Forget too the military transports flying into Wellington all the time…30 times in 15 minutes if you believe John Campbell.

No, the Whaleoil investigation can now reveal, with photographic evidence, the links between John Key and Panama:

Generated by IJG JPEG Library

Generated by IJG JPEG Library

That’s right, our exclusive Whaleoil investigation, using tools provided by Google, has revealed that John Key has once worn a Panama hat.

All successful conspiracies exist in clear view, where only the insiders know the signals and identifiers of other members of the conspiracy. This is the first clear evidence of John key being involved with something closely linked to Panama.

It’s a shame the Labour party missed such an obvious link too.


– Fairfax


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  • twittertit

    Cruel. Had me worried for a bit.

    • Clydesmum

      Me too!!

  • Seriously?

    Like most who read this site, I’m intensely interested in politics. But even my eyes glazed over after about a third of the Fairfax quote, and I skipped to the punchline.

    If Labour cannot interest me, the have a snowball’s chance in hell of making this interesting to Joe and Jane Voter.

    • Annoyed

      You missed the best bit at the bottom of the article where it said that the details were actually found by the OIO at the request of National. Nothing to do with Labour. I think they rely on people not finishing their articles and therefore missing the truth.

  • Second time around

    It wasn’t the tip of the iceberg that sank the Titanic. Cunliffe needs to go in deep if he wants to find anything sinister., but I don’t think he has either the skill or the energy to do it.

    • Florrie Bunda

      Just Cunliffe clutching at straws again. He is so desperate to redeem himself for not being a man. This latest attempt will fizzle out just like all the others. And to think we pay these guys for this rubbish.

  • wilson

    Grant Robertson. moment of truth part 2. Book the town hall. Fly in a purlitzer winner (so he said). A taitor. One chardonnay socialist. A fat bloke from Germany. It’s all on.

  • Eiselmann

    Putting my hand up I too have many links to Panama, I liked Van Halen’s song ‘Panama’, I once watched a video showing ships in the Panama Canal, I watched Team America:World Peace which showed the Panama Canal, several times I have flown in a plane that flew over the America’s which many will now has a country called Panama in it…..I’m so tainted. John Key has nothing on me.

    Gee I hope Labour don’t investigate me, thou I have been asking them to declare my life a crisis for several months now.

    • Mick Ie

      I’ve travelled the Panama Canal so I’m guessing they will be knocking at my door any second now.

      • rantykiwi

        I guess I’m in the same boat.

    • Intrigued

      Ooh I have ‘links’ too. How exciting! Giggle, snort and much mirth! I’ve a well read copy of John Le Carré’s Tailor of Panama in my bookcase. [Love, love, love Le Carré’s novels and that one is a particularly good spy novel too…!]

  • ploughboy007

    someone should tell the big grunter that he going to be a week late.duckshooting starts the 3rd.

    • No it doesn’t, it starts the 7th this year.

  • R&BAvenger

    How weak from labour – up to their expected standard. I has a feeling that the proven link via WOBH would be a nice slap in the face for lefties, who were no doubt salivating at the prospect of a massive hit on the government. Instead another damp squip. It won’t stop our ‘news’ organisations filling in dead airspace and blank newsprint with a fabricated story to make it out to be more than it really is.

    • biscuit barrel

      Well it wasnt labour who ‘found this’
      “Following the leak earlier this month, the New Zealand Government told the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) to review its decision to approve a land purchase by a person connected to the law firm.
      The OIO started to review its approvals and applications to see if any involved Mossack Fonseca and found the 2014 decision.

      So the government told OIO to check up, Fairfax have just asked Key and Cunliffe for comment on what the government found

  • johnnyB

    Knowing how effective the ‘intelligence’ sources have been lately from Labour I hope they have done the same amount of diligence as they applied with their shot from the hip approach on the Niue Hotel and Police Station Closures – as wouldn’t it be precious if someone linked to the Labour Party spring up on this list.

  • Cracker1963

    Panama hat worn on a Links Golf Course- what more evidence do you want!

    • Sailor Sam

      But there is more.
      You just need to undertand Dutch.
      In Dutch – “links” means “left”.
      There you have it, John Key is a leftie after all!

    • Isherman

      Panama hat with a black rim and band even…NZ’s national colour…the link is hiding in plain sight…OMG, Keys goose is cooked, this party’s over!

      • Alan Beresford B’Stard

        He must resign immediately, leaving the way clear for Labour to regain power. OMG did I say that out loud!

    • Doc45

      and made in China -gulp – he’s a gonna.

    • M C Chinaman

      The important question is ‘Is he wearing his Prime Minister’s hat, or his party leader’s hat?’

  • Alan Beresford B’Stard

    My god, if Labour spent as much time and energy looking after their own affairs as they do trying to dig the dirt on John Key, they would possible be a lot better off. Well, a bit better off. Ok you’re right, they’d still be hopeless.

  • earthyundertones

    Law firms can sometimes represent “unsavoury”, even criminal clients. It goes with the territory. Even average people can innocently get swept along.. write positive stories about them in the press, defend them, argue against their extradition, help them form political parties… but I digress. There is nothing to suggest anything illegal or unsavoury in this story at all (save a possible question about ownership).This is the story of one of Mossacks clients buying land in NZ. One of the very reasons for a foreign trust is that it can assist in purchases and investments in a foreign country. Normal, above board, ordinary. The Panama hat story contains far more weight and credibility than the labour press release.

    • biscuit barrel

      No it isnt. if you change owners you have to go through OIO process all over again. Thats illegal to start with. Any lawyer who helps in this process could be disbarred.

      • Annoyed

        Directors aren’t owners. That the directors and the owners are different is irrelevant.

      • Cadwallader

        No. Any resident Kiwi can act as a trustee for a foreign party. The trustee alone appears on the title to the land. The foreign involvement is solely as a moneylender. The Kiwi resident does not require OIO consent…understandably.

        • biscuit barrel

          Its beneficial ownership, so having a kiwi trustee doesnt get around it.
          It seems they have hidden the beneficial owners, as the people mentioned in the OIO approval are directors of over 1000 companies each.

          • Cadwallader

            No. There is no compulsion on a trustee to disclose beneficiaries provided tax is paid by the trustee on any income which may accrue.

          • biscuit barrel
          • Cadwallader

            I am referring to trusts and not corporations.

          • biscuit barrel

            “An associate of an overseas person is also an overseas person for the purposes of the Act. An associate is any person or entity acting in concert or jointly with an overseas person, or who is controlled by, or subject to an overseas person’s direction or influence or participates in the overseas investment as a consequence of any understanding or arrangement with an overseas person.”
            A new director is an associate as far as the OIO is concerned.

            You are confused with IRD and its requirements for paying tax, even then as you would know, just changing directors or trustees can have effects on tax losses and such like

          • Cadwallader

            Is a trustee an “associated person?” I don’t think so. There are legitmate beasts called “Secret Trusts” and Blind Trusts.” These entities do not reveal their beneficiaries.

  • Sagacious Blonde

    Fifteen months of trawling and Hagar missed this??

    • biscuit barrel

      panama papers isnt Hagars project, people are confused with a different tax scandal some years in 2013 he was involved with, that wasnt Panama.
      No need to put the details here but its easy to find, the nexus for NZ was in Hong Kong

      • Annoyed

        There’s an article by Hager on Pundit that says he’s been working on the Panama papers for 15 months. It even goes into the details on how he was approached etc.I’ve also read the “I wasn’t involved” line that you’re referencing.

        • biscuit barrel

          You are wrong, that ‘Pundit ‘ article was written long before the Panama papers were released.
          This is the one
          “How do you make sense of more than a million leaked documents? APRIL 09, 2013

          So I hope you and everybody else now knows when.

          • Annoyed

            It seems you’re right on that article. He’s still listed on the ICIJ website. They have used him 3 times. It seems unlikely that he wouldn’t have had a headsup if anything had been found.

  • earthyundertones

    Anyone who has bothered linking to the icij website (essential if you actually want something from the horses mouth rather than a “Key did it” press release) you will know that the next major data release is timed for 9th May. It contains details on entities from over 200 countries. Given that Wikipedia states there are 196 countries in the world (including Taiwan) there is a pretty good chance that Grant is on the money and there is a New Zealand connection. Well done mate. You can now wait in breathless anticipation and hope against hope that John Keys name is top of the list! (Spoiler Alert: It wont be on the list, so get ready with the “so who removed it?” line..).

  • Grizz30

    This latest thing with the lawyer clients buying a Taranaki farm. I am a little lost at where the tax evasion link is. The NZ foreign trusts are tax free as long as the income generated is from overseas as I understand it. In this case, the asset and one would assume the income is generated locally and thus is liable for tax. Tax at the higher trust rate of 33%. In my mind the only question that needs answering is if they paid their tax? If they have been evading their tax then we would have a story.

    What Labour and Co are wanting is the smoking gun. Something that proves Key or his associates have been putting their assets into a tax haven to avoid paying taxes. They are trying to hang their hat on this as they are not doing so well promoting themselves.

    • Christie

      Tax on a foreign trust is 45% – if the trust is liable for taxation – which most of them are not.

  • Drhill

    I hope Labour are in those Panama Papers (it is 40 years worth you know Grant?)

    • PhantomsDoc

      Don’t worry, Grant won’t be. This release will have been sanatised and those on the left advised that as long as they listen to the working group, amend their ways and follow direction, their anominity will be assured.

  • Graeme

    Just shows the mentality of the clowns in the Labour party. Anyone with half a brain in that outfit would have finally realised by now after almost 10 years of trying to smear Key unsuccessfully that it might be an idea to come up with some decent policies for a change.

  • Aucky

    If Labour had indeed found the Holy Grail that implicated JK and/or the Government to the Panamanians would Andrew Little have abrogated his rights to party leper David Cunliffe to trumpet it from the rooftops?

    • Alan Beresford B’Stard

      Little knows he can’t afford another monumental gaffe, so he’s very kindly allowed Cunliffe to take the heat on this one.

      • biscuit barrel

        Its clear that this is just side issue, only connection being the infamous Panama lawyers. Their only issue is the dodgy transfer of owners.
        No one has said its got anything to do with John Key here.

        • Annoyed

          Directors aren’t owners. Shareholders are owners. You don’t have to be a shareholder to be a director. That Labour don’t understand these simple things is yet another reason why they are incompatible with running this country.

          • biscuit barrel

            Its clear the original ‘buyer’ was a law firm shelf company, which is now in new ownership. Thats how its done, directors is a just a clue to whats changed.

          • Annoyed

            That isn’t what he said, he simply pointed out that the current shareholders aren’t the directors who signed the documents. There is no mention of a shelf company, it looks more like those guys are simply professional directors. There is also no mention that the directors have changed.
            A quick Google search seems to show that there’s been no change in directors or shareholding from that company.

  • Bob Dazzler

    They have no actual policy ideas to resonate with “their” so called voting supporters, so they just flail around with innuendos, pathetic people.

  • CheesyEarWax

    He said the link was the “tip of the iceberg”.

    That’s politician lingo for I have got nothing.

  • Christie

    I did wonder if it was April 1st again already.

  • NZ_Stormer

    On May 9 (May 10 NZ time) the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is set to release ” the Panama Papers database, which will likely be the largest ever release of data on secret offshore companies and the people behind them”

    • Crowgirl

      Oh goody, I’ll get my eyes ready to glaze over in anticipation.

      If we political tragics can’t even get excited by this, this stuff must bypass most people altogether.

      • biscuit barrel

        Wait and see the names. Im thinking it will just be some names well known from the failed finance companies saga. There may be some former politicians who are extremely weathly

        • Crowgirl

          Unless there is some illegal activity, and it can actually be proven with real evidence, then the Queen’s name could be in there for all I care.

          • biscuit barrel

            Hiding the change of ownership, when you have gone through OIO, is an offence.
            Whats the bet the details will come up next month, when the full documents are available….tick…tick

        • Cadwallader

          Little Angry’s name won’t be there as he is bereft of investments. It is this paucity of foresight on the part of many in the Left which leads to their envy and resentment of those who bother to invest. The best advice the Labour Party ought be dishing up to their dwindling constituency is “Save, look after your own nest-egg and leave others’ alone.”

  • Dave

    Reading the above, we need Andrew Little to declare a crisis for 6.00 am on the 10th of may, as hundreds of kiwi Journalists wet themselves over the Panama Papers.

  • Jono

    Why do I feel this date will pass by without event.

  • Wheninrome

    The really serious question is where was this Panama Hat made, did someone with a “chinky sounding name” make it, therefore Is it a genuine Panama Hat. Was it made to fit, or an “off the shelf special” was it the result of “sweatshop labour”.
    These are the really serious questions that need answers, Labour needs to join the dots here.
    I can see the headline, Key wears Panama Hat made by chinky sounding person in sweatshop.
    It would have to be a vote winner for labour, they are trying and failing everywhere else.

  • OT Richter

    The elephant in the room, is why didn’t the OIO know back in 2014 that Mossack Fonseca’s business practices would be uncovered in 2016?

  • LesleyNZ

    This post reminded me of when I started secondary school (a state school) in the 1970’s when we used to have wear a white panama hat like this one (but a bit smaller) to and from school in summer. Most got pretty dented up and dirty. We also had to wear gloves (ladies’ gloves not thick woolly ones) and a beret in winter. A year later the panama hat was withdrawn from the uniform. We drew all over them and decorated them and some stomped on them to make them even more dented and flat. The Labour Party are simply just one big panama hat!

  • Left Right Out

    What is sensitive land….. and do we need to ensure that is not bullied, made fun off or have insults hurled at it….. The first thin=g we should do is ban all bullrush on this sensitive land

  • Korau

    This is truly shocking!!
    Has John Key ever been linked to other places by headgear?
    Ascot cap (horse racing and gamling)
    Balaclava (russians)
    Balmoral bonnet (Sucking up to the royals)
    Glengarry (Haggis smuggling)
    Tyrolean (right next to Switzerland, nudge nudge)

    And that’s just the tip of the brim!

    • KatB

      You may not know his name but his fez certainly looks familiar.

    • Cadwallader

      Yes, sounds suspicious.Have you seen him wearing a Mt McKinley on a cold day? This implicates him with Eskimos and it flows into whaling and the wholesale slaughter of polar bears! They’ve got him, they’ve got him! The Greenies will exact a savage punishment dealing to this covert whaler and eco-delinquent.

  • Sticktotheknitting

    What a lovely relaxed and happy looking Prime Minister, compare this photo to any one of Angry Andy. So over their sour grapes.

    • John Colbert

      Are You Blind! …. Well Are Ya !!!

  • Noeyedeer

    Interesting thing about Panama hats is that the authentic ones are actually made in Ecuador. Technically they are known as toquilla straw hats and the really expensive ones can be up $500 kiwi. I know because I bought one – from Ecuador.

    They were called Panama hats because they once tended to be sold in Panama which was the main travel/trade route between the Americas.

    So even wearing a Panama hat is a pretty big stretch to the actual country Panama.

    • Dumrse

      I recently passed a restaraunt in Penang called Noeyedeer. Is it yours ?

      • Noeyedeer

        I had no idea there was one there too :-)

  • Robot Number-Eleven

    Tax havens are NOT illegal. Tax avoidance (legal) is not the same thing as tax evasion (illegal). At least where I studied law in the U.K. Somehow it all gets muddied up here in NZ. Really just seems like a witch hunt of the rich. If you want to lobby to change the laws, that’s one thing Grant Robertson. Though I suspect you don’t actually understand the laws. But simply witch hunting for rich people will lead nowhere good. Ugly, ugly, ugly. Talk about “populist propaganda”. Trump apparently has nothing on Robertson.