Auckland PR queen and Kiwi billionare named in Panama Papers web

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1 NEWS

A Kiwi billionaire, an Auckland PR queen and a former South Canterbury rich lister have all been caught up in the complex web of Mossack Fonseca's financial transactions.

Their names were uncovered in a joint ONE News investigation into the complex web of transactions.
Source: 1 NEWS

The Panama law firm set up companies to hide the identities of trust benefactors, but a team of journalists from ONE News, Radio New Zealand and Nicky Hager have delved into New Zealand's connection to the Panama Papers.

Deborah Pead is well known in the Auckland PR scene and became the benefactor of a trust for a sick friend, which unwittingly landed her in the files of Mossack Fonseca.

In 2014 she enlisted the help of Chesterfield, a financial management company, to help take care of her friend's money.

Chesterfield in turn asked Mossack Fonseca to set up three trusts in the blacklisted British Virgin Islands.

Documents show when the companies were established using "business profits" they had a total value of $220,000.

Ms Pead told ONE News she had no idea Mossack Fonseca was involved or how the law firm structured finances.

Documents show the director and secretary of the trusts are listed as organisations in the Bahamas.

The late Allan Hubbard, a Canterbury businessman, and his wife were also named in the papers as directors of an Australian iron ore company, registered in the British Virgin Islands until June, 2015.

Kiwi billionaire Richard Chandler's Singapore-based company also enlisted the help of Mossack Fonseca.

Mr Chandler declined to comment on the "private investment fund".

Prime Minister John Key reiterated that the names on the list may have completely complied with all trust laws but said the database will help Inland Revenue.

"The really good thing about this, as I said earlier, the good thing about the release of the database is that IRD who really know what they are doing, they can go through it, they can sort out the wheat from the chaff."

The investigation into the Panama Papers New Zealand is a journalistic collaboration by reporters from ONE News, RNZ News and investigative journalist Nicky Hager.

It has been carried out with the assistance of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and the German newspaper Süddeutshe Zeitung.

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