Man found not guilty of attempt to bribe Auckland Council

Published

Man found not guilty of attempt to bribe Auckland Council

A not guilty verdict has been delivered in a Serious Fraud Office (SFO) trial involving an alleged offer of a bribe to an Auckland Council official.

Johnson Yuejun Li has been found not guilty of offering a $1,000 cash bribe with the intention to influence an Auckland Council planner in November 2013 when he was seeking consent for an application to subdivide a Hillsborough property.

The matter was referred to the SFO.

SFO Director, Julie Read said, "The SFO's role as lead investigating agency in relation to corruption and bribery matters is to protect New Zealand's reputation as a safe place to invest and do business. The only way New Zealand will retain its good reputation is to bring matters to our attention if employees are concerned about possible unethical practices. The SFO will present it to the Court to decide."

For further information

Andrea Linton
Serious Fraud Office
027 705 4550

Note to editors

Crimes Act offences

Section 105 Corruption and bribery of official
(1) Every official is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years who, whether within New Zealand or elsewhere, corruptly accepts or obtains, or agrees or offers to accept or attempts to obtain, any bribe for himself or herself or any other person in respect of any act done or omitted, or to be done or omitted, by him or her in his or her official capacity.

(2) Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years who corruptly gives or offers or agrees to give any bribe to any person with intent to influence any official in respect of any act or omission by him or her in his or her official capacity.

About the SFO

The SFO was established in 1990 under the Serious Fraud Office Act in response to the collapse of financial markets in New Zealand at that time.

The SFO's role is the detection, investigation and prosecution of serious or complex financial crime. The SFO's focus is on investigating and prosecuting criminal cases that will have a real effect on:

  • business and investor confidence in our financial markets and economy
  • public confidence in our justice system and public service
  • New Zealand's international business reputation.

The SFO operates three operational teams; the Evaluation and Intelligence team along with two investigative teams.

The SFO operates under two sets of investigative powers.

Part 1 of the SFO Act provides that it may act where the Director "has reason to suspect that an investigation into the affairs of any person may disclose serious or complex fraud."

Part 2 of the SFO Act provides the SFO with more extensive powers where: "...the Director has reasonable grounds to believe that an offence involving serious or complex fraud may have been committed..."

In considering whether a matter involves serious or complex fraud, the Director may, among other things, have regard to:

  • the suspected nature and consequences of the fraud and/or;
  • the suspected scale of the fraud and/or;
  • the legal, factual and evidential complexity of the matter and/or;
  • any relevant public interest considerations.


The SFO's Annual Report 2014 sets out its achievements for the past year, while the Statement of Intent 2014-2018 sets out the SFO's strategic goals and performance standards. Both are available online at www.sfo.govt.nz