8 Jul 2020

Jami-Lee Ross appears in court ahead of electoral fraud trial

10:58 am on 8 July 2020

A trial date for former National Party MP Jami-Lee Ross and three businessman has been set.

Former National MP Jami-Lee Ross at the Auckland High Court.

Former National MP Jami-Lee Ross at the Auckland High Court. Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

Ross, Zhang Yikun, Zheng Shijia, Zheng Hengjia were charged with electoral fraud in February after a 10-month Serious Fraud Office investigation.

The political scandal traces back to a complaint made by Ross himself when he fell out with his former party and then then-leader Simon Bridges in late 2018.

All four men face charges of deception; Zheng Hengjia has also been charged with providing misleading information.

The charges relate to two $100,000 donations paid to the National Party - one in 2017 and the second in 2018.

Ross and the businessmen appeared in the High Court at Auckland for the first time today, having pleaded not guilty to the charges in February.

Justice Moore set a trial date of 6 September 2021 which is expected to take no more than six weeks.

The Serious Fraud Office prosecution is being led by Stephen Bonner QC and Katie Bannister.

Ron Mansfield and Hannah Stuart are representing Jami-Lee Ross and John Katz QC is representing Zhang Yikun.

Zheng Shijia, also known as Colin, is represented by Paul Dacre QC while Zheng Hengjia, also known as Joe, is represented by Rosemary Thomson.