Attack on Key’s lawyer continue, even though “it is all legal”

The Media party are still going after John Key’s lawyer, digging up old cases that he lost.

You know things are desperate when they resort to that.

Prime Minister John Key’s private lawyer, Ken Whitney, was involved in setting up a blind trust described by a High Court judge as a sham, it’s been revealed.

The trust allowed Las Vegas-based New Zealander Rod Nielsen to take part in a failed Auckland property project which owes investors $16 million, and is under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.

Questioned about this today, Mr Key said he had complete faith in Mr Whitney.

“I don’t know any of those details but in his dealings with me for a very long time he’s been thoroughly ethical,” Mr Key told reporters.   

“I’ve known him for a long period of time and I have complete confidence in him.”

Mr Whitney is in the news because he runs a company, Antipodes, which specialises in setting up foreign trusts.

There’s been intense scrutiny of foreign trusts around the world following the leak of millions of documents from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, which sets them up.

The trusts are legal but can be used to hide wealth from tax authorities, or to launder money.

Nice to know, though, that lawyers are now a free for all…including their wins and losses in court.

Does the Media party realise that lawyers act on instruction from their clients, even in forlorn cases? I suspect not. But at least we now know that lawyers for politicians are fair game.

I can think of one flea lawyer in West Auckland who has set up some trusts to launder donations for past Labour party leaders and who might need some spotlight shone on his own practice.

Labour are setting themselves up for a proper shellacking if everyone is fair game.

Len Brown never revealed his shonky arrangements with a dodgy trust to hide his donations…I wonder which lawyers were involved in the setting up of that trust?

 – Newshub


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  • twittertit

    This is appalling. They’re attacking a man for no other reason than he’s John Key’s lawyer. What’s next? Blame the leaky house crisis on JK’s builder?

  • Crowgirl

    This story appeared on my FB newsfeed last night with the forlorn hope expressed that this bit of ‘muck’ might somehow stick to the PM. Quite how the business dealings of Whitney – who is a separate and independent entity to John Key – should somehow tarnish the PM by association, was not explained.

    The media have jumped the shark completely now if you can have your past losses dredged up and deemed newsworthy just because you occasionally act for John Key.

  • wilson

    I can’t remember voting for John keys lawyer. Oh well, if they can’t get key. They are going to go after people associated with him. Weak

    • Wheninrome

      So watch out the housekeeping staff, either come up with the goods from the Key rubbish bins or we will “gun” for you, with labour no one is safe, McCarthyism of a type.

  • waldopepper

    so they are going after key by way of his lawyer, for things he did legally. and they wonder why they have no audience anymore lol.

    • biscuit barrel

      Legally ? The setting up of the Trust may have been legal, but some things were ‘barely legal’
      he had to provide information to Bankruptcy Official assignee but didnt.
      he witnessed a signature when he didnt

      “”Whitney purported to witness Nielsen’s signature. Whitney acknowledged in cross-examination that he was not present when Nielsen signed the document. Neilsen signed it in Las Vegas, and Whitney witnessed Nielsen’s signature when the document was later returned to New Zealand.”
      From the Court Judgement.

      • Wheninrome

        Not unusual, lawyers often have certified copies of people’s signatures for that reason.

        • biscuit barrel

          Certifying a copy is not the same as witnessing a signature ‘in the presence of’ which has a specific legal meaning. Shortcuts is a slippery road to being disbarred

          • Quinton Hogg

            Signing as a witness when a signature has not in fact been witnessed used to be commonplace especially if a lawyer knew the signatory.
            Now it is frowned upon.
            Such conduct tends to fall at the unsatisfactory conduct end of the naughty conduct spectrum so it would be dealt with by a standards committee.

  • MaryLou

    Yes, my interest hasn’t waned in the slightest around Len Browns Trust, nor the Labour Party-feeding Trusts. But I can’t imagine the day journalists will even bother about that.

  • Oskar

    David Cunliffe also had a few issues over trusts – see this on failure to declare a trust in 2012 –
    And issues around the secret trust to finance his leadership campaign –
    I am sure in both cases he took legal advice.

    • biscuit barrel

      Yes he was a two faced weasel.

  • Keeping Stock

    The hypocrisy of David Cunliffe ranting and raving in the General Debate yesterday about secret trusts and personal trust lawyers was breathtaking. Does he think we’ve forgotten about him and Greg Presland?

    • biscuit barrel

      Was Cunliffe hiding his assets from his creditors through secret trusts, including the tax payer

      • Keeping Stock

        No biscuit barrel – it was much worse than that. He was hiding the identity of people who were donating money so he could become leader of Labour, and perhaps even PM. That way, we wouldn’t have known when favours were called in.

        Now those, he’s trying to re-write history and pretend it never happened.

        • biscuit barrel

          Many MPs have hid the identity of donors to their re-election , since when is it a crime.

          • Crowgirl

            It’s not a crime but looked bad in his case because he’d spent considerable time ranting about National’s use of trusts in campaigning. Hypocrisy thy name is Cunliffe.

          • Keeping Stock

            Quite so Crowgirl – Cunliffe admitted as much when he was busted:

            Labour leader David Cunliffe has come clean about the trust set up to
            handle his donations during the leadership contest last year, naming
            three donors but saying two others were not willing to be named so their
            donations would be returned.

            Mr Cunliffe has also said that using the trust for the campaign was a lapse in judgement.

            “I don’t think in hindsight that a trust structure fully represented the values I would like to bring to this leadership.”

            To this day, we still do not know who made donations totalling $8300 to Cunliffe, or more importantly, if they wanted anything in return.

          • Wheninrome

            Did we get to see the receipt for the returned donation to this trust, did a refund occur?

          • Keeping Stock

            I suspect there is as much chance of seeing those receipts as seeing the ones Winston Peters got from those “charities” who accepted his tainted money.

  • It’s not about legality, it is about perception, sarc.

  • axeman

    I would have thought a word of caution would be needed if they continue on this practice as I suspect a very good lawyer could have a pretty good crack at them and wipe the $250K donations away from the party if they aren’t careful

    • biscuit barrel

      The comments are from the Judges decision, who are protected from defamation.

  • PharmaBloke

    If “guilt by association ” is the new thing for Party lesders, can we re examine Matt McCarten ?? Now, THAT wasn’t legal……. ( did AA get to choose or choose to retain his Chief of Staff ?

  • sheppy

    A quick google provides this concerning Len Browns top secret trust

    But its all perfectly fine when the left do it!

    Perhaps Angry Andy would like to comment on how the link below fits in with his speech about making sure everyone pays their fair share of tax just after Question Time yesterday. Shouldn’t he be “straight with New Zealanders” on whether his office staff are expected to pay whats due?

    Has the money been paid to the IRD? Have penalties been added and paid? Back in the real world its what the rest of us would have to pay.

    • biscuit barrel

      Its a very long list of those who dont pay IRD. The debt doesnt go away, so its a mistake to ignore it. Unless he has a very good lawyer who can wipe the tax debt through a receivership. Thats what the current owners of mediaworks did and that was around $20 mill

  • niggly

    Perhaps JK’s lawyer needs to do what that couple who own hotels did the other week, which is to take legal action against those defaming him (looks like in this case it’s Cunliffe, Shaw and some MSM journalists)?

    Remaining silent won’t work – Labour, Greens and the MSM will then say he has something to hide and keep defaming him.

    • one for the road

      Right on Niggly, the only way to shut them up is to give it back to them with both barrels!! Hopefully they get dragged through the courts..

      • biscuit barrel

        Bradley Ambrose could give advice on when you get defamed in the crossfire

  • biscuit barrel

    Forgive the confusion but Mr Key said this

    “Questioned about this today, Mr Key said he had complete faith in Mr Whitney”

    Yet a few days ago Mr Whitney was ‘sloppy worded’ in his email to another minister.

    Could he be pushed back under the bus , again, in a day or two

  • OneTrack

    The left have nothing else. Labour aren’t known as the Nasty Party for nothing – private lawyers, people flying a flag in their backyard, all open game to the left.

    • Gladwin

      Agreed. They are so barren in talent all they have left is nasty.