The Serious Fraud Office is investigating an Australian mining company for possible fraud following its failed application to explore for oil and gas the Golden Bay and Buller areas.
The SFO says the Ministry of Economic Development has passed on information related to applications made by Greywolf Resources.
The investigation relates to possible false statements contained in the paperwork of applications relating to three petroleum exploration and seven mineral exploration permits for various parts of New Zealand.
New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals officially rejected an exploration bid by Greywolf Resources on Tuesday night, two days after the company said it was withdrawing its applications.
The agency said it declined the application because of deficiencies in the financial information provided.
SFO director Adam Feeley told Checkpoint on Friday it appears Greywolf was attempting to fraudulently obtain permits which would be worth many millions of dollars.
Mr Feeley says the SFO has had preliminary discussions with Greywolf. Investigations typically take up to nine months, but he believes this one should be quicker.
Greywolf Resources director John Rutherford says he is surprised and concerned the SFO is investigating, and is seeking more information about the fraud allegations.