An Auckland man has been cleared of trying to bribe a city council official.
Johnson Yuejun Li was accused of offering $1000 in cash bribes to a town planner while seeking consent to subdivide his Hillsborough property.
It was the second time Mr Li had applied for consent, after his first attempt was turned down.
But following an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office, a judge today concluded Mr Li had intended the payment not as a bribe but as a gift, a practice common in Chinese culture.
The judge said Mr Li was not aware the town planner would have any influence over his application, and wasn't aware of the council's policy against accepting gifts.