25 May 2012

Letter to Jones outlines businessman's fear

9:48 am on 25 May 2012

A letter written on behalf of a Chinese businessman whose citizenship application was supported by Labour MP Shane Jones outlines the risk he faced if he returned to China.

Yan Yong Ming, also known as Bill Liu, had been on trial in the High Court in Auckland and was on Thursday acquitted of all five charges of fraud including lying to gain citizenship.

Mr Jones stood down from his Labour front bench and portfolio roles on Wednesday and is facing a potential Auditor-General inquiry over his involvement.

The letter from Mr Yan's lawyer John Billington QC, sent in 2008 to Mr Jones when he was a government minister, said Mr Yan faced unresolved fraud claims brought by the Chinese authorities.

It said he could face the death penalty if he was returned to China and also mentioned his previous incarceration and torture from which he bears the scars.

Mr Billington said the alleged charge that his client misappropriated money was nonsensical and there had been no attempt to recover any funds allegedly taken.

The letter, which was released by the Department of Internal Affairs, also outlined why Mr Yan has two identities, saying that he lived with a foster family for a short time when he was a child and that both families registered him, each with different names and birth dates.