Labour: Check foreign buyers for Mossack Fonseca links

  • 15/04/2016
(Simon Wong)
(Simon Wong)

Labour wants the Overseas Investment Office to check all its land purchase approvals to find out whether there are any more links to Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca.

The company specialises in setting up foreign trusts, which are legal but can be used for tax evasion and money laundering.

The leak of more than 11 million of its documents has caused global concern over the way wealthy people are hiding their money.

One OIO approval for a land purchase, granted in 2014 to someone with links to Mossack Fonseca, is being reviewed.

Labour's finance spokesman, Grant Robertson, says that raises concern about whether there were others.

"We need to be reviewing all the applications, with some urgency," he said on RNZ on Friday.

"The behaviour of this company indicates that the people who seek its services have something to hide."

Land Information Minister Louise Upston's office has confirmed that one approval is being reviewed.

Mr Robertson has asked questions in parliament but Finance Minister Bill English couldn't give any details of the transaction.

He said he didn't know from which country it originated.

Prime Minister John Key doesn't think there needs to be a wider investigation by the OIO.

"The OIO is looking at the particular application, making sure everything is covered off properly and appropriately.

"The OIO can look at that and satisfy itself. Other parts of government, I think, are looking to see whether there are links there and if there are they'll fully disclose them and make sure there fully looked at," he says.

He wasn't aware of any other cases.

New Zealand's anti-money laundering legislation requires people to make sure they know the source of their income and is from a legitimate source, Mr Key says. 

Newshub. / NZN