OIO probing two buyers' Mossack Fonseca links

1:47 pm on 16 June 2016

The Overseas Investment Office is taking a closer look at two of its approvals, as individuals related to the application may have connections to the beleaguered international law firm Mossack Fonseca.

Land Information Minister Louise Upston said at a parliamentary select committee this morning that in light of the Panama Papers revelations, the office had reviewed approvals given to foreign buyers.

She said two may have connections to Mossack Fonseca.

Land Information chief executive Peter Mersi said the two cases relate to individuals, but work is still being done to see if they are in fact the same people who appear in the Panama Papers.

The Panama Papers revealed how the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca orchestrated a worldwide web of companies designed to let people hide money and avoid taxes.

The OIO has been under review, and had to apologise to its minister for failing to conduct a robust inquiry when it approved the sale of Onetai Station in Taranaki to two Argentinian brothers who been found criminally responsible for chemical dumping from their tannery near Buenos Aires.

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