23 Oct 2013

Nathan Guy fuzzy on SFO Zespri probe

6:28 am on 23 October 2013

The Primary Industries Minister says he does not know why the country's biggest horticultural exporter is being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office.

The SFO confirmed on Tuesday that it has launched an investigation into kiwifruit marketer Zespri, but refused to provide any further details.

Zespri says the Serious Fraud Office has not been in contact with it and it has no idea on what grounds it is being investigated.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says he is largely in the same boat as Zespri.

Mr Guy says he only found out on Monday that an investigation was taking place and does not know whether it is linked to Zespri's trade to China.

The Independent Kiwifruit Growers Association has been calling for an inquiry into Zespri following the company's conviction and large fine this year for its role in a duty avoidance scam in China between 2008-2010.

In 2011, Zespri was fined half a million dollars by the South Korean Fair Trade Commission for trying to block sales of Chilean kiwifruit in that country.