Businessman who founded media company released from prison after $8m ANZ bank loan fraud

A Kiwi businessman who founded the largest Chinese language media organisation in New Zealand has been released from prison.

Siu Shun Ho was serving two years and 10 months’ imprisonment for fraudulently securing about $8.8 million from ANZ to finance his company International View Limited (IVL).

The 67-year-old appeared before the Parole Board for the first time last month and was last week released from prison, a decision released to the Herald today reads.

Ho’s criminal scheme was orchestrated alongside his business partner Christopher John Christie while they worked at IVL, a business importing computer parts from Asia for on-sale in New Zealand.

Ho, also known as Henry, incorporated IVL in 1990 and was the sole director and majority shareholder, while Christie was the firm’s general manager and responsible for its day-to-day management.

Christie was also sentenced to the same prison term for the fraud and released on parole on Monday.

Ho, who has no other record of criminal offending in New Zealand, has lived in Aotearoa for 32 years after moving from Hong Kong with his family.

Along with IVL he established World TV Ltd, the largest Chinese language media organisation in New Zealand.

The Parole Board’s report said Ho’s risk of reoffending was “very low”.

“Looking at all of the information in front of us we are satisfied that risk is no longer undue.”

While incarcerated, Ho completed the short motivational programme last year, however, the board was unsure why.

“We are not sure just why the short motivational programme is being used in these sorts of cases, but it does seem to be happening quite often more recently. We had thought the purpose of the programme was to test motivation for further rehabilitative work. We actually have no doubt about Mr Ho’s motivation in that regard,” the decision, written by panel convenor Alan Ritchie, reads.

The Parole Board also mentioned Ho’s bankruptcy and ban from being a director of a company for five years.

“We also expect there are other restrictions arising from the bankruptcy. However, we were somewhat surprised that the department did not recommend the usual financial business conditions in the parole assessment report.”

As part of his parole conditions, Ho is barred from being involved in the handling of money and provision of advice or management of the financial accounts or transactions of any person or entity unless given prior written approval of a probation officer.

The same conditions also apply to not operating a credit card or applying for or accepting a loan, not giving financial or business advice, and not engaging in any employment or have any role in the affairs of any business, trust, company or other entity.

In a letter to the High Court at his sentencing, Ho said he couldn’t forgive himself and deeply regrets his actions.

He said his actions were for the benefit of IVL and his staff, who he did not want to see lose their jobs. He said for about two years he had tried to sell assets to repay ANZ before declaring himself bankrupt prior to his arrest.

In a victim impact statement, ANZ said the trade loan principal lost by the bank was $1,854,338, but it also calculated interest lost of $402,077, legal costs of $42,550 and liquidator’s costs exceeding $80,000.

In total, the bank said it was defrauded of $2,379,739.

The fraud involved the preparation of several false documents, including shipping dockets, purchase orders and an inventory summary, which were submitted to ANZ to simply mislead the bank.

“Both defendants clearly acted in concert with full knowledge that the information being provided to the bank was false,” Justice Davison said in his sentencing notes.

Ho and Christie pleaded guilty to two representative counts of dishonestly using a document to fraudulently secure about $8.8m from ANZ over 14 months from August 2016.

They were each sentenced in June last year to two years and 10 months’ imprisonment and also ordered to serve at least half of the sentence by Justice Paul Davison.

Ho’s sentence expiry date is April 24, 2022.

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