Serious Fraud Office investigating Labour Party donations from 2017

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has announced it's carrying out an investigation into donations made to the Labour Party in 2017.

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According to a statement, the SFO is conducting "four investigations in relation to electoral funding matters.

"A fifth matter that the agency investigated relating to electoral funding is now before the courts."

“We consider that making the current announcement is consistent with our past practice in this area of electoral investigations and in the public interest,” the Director of the SFO, Julie Read, said.

In addition to the Labour Party Donations investigation, the SFO says it has an ongoing investigation in relation to the New Zealand First Foundation and two other separate investigations in relation to Auckland Council and Christchurch City Council mayoral electoral funding.

"The fifth electoral funding matter relates to donations paid to the National Party. This matter is currently before the courts with a trial scheduled for September 2021," the SFO states.

Labour Party President Claire Szabo released a statement on the investigation this evening: "We have not been advised of the specifics of the inquiry, however the Labour Party will fully cooperate with any SFO investigations.

"For completeness however, we note that we have already made statements to media in February confirming that two men who were then being investigated by the SFO and had made donations to the National Party, had also made donations to Labour."

These two men are Colin Zheng (Shijia Zheng) and Hengjia Zheng.

Labour says Colin Zheng donated $1940 in 2018 and it was included as a donation within their party return filed that year.

Hengjia Zheng donated $10,000 by purchasing a piece of art at a silent auction in March of 2017, Labour says and it was also included as a donation within the party return filed that year.