7 April 2017
The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) is aware that US wine fund manager, Charles Banks, has pleaded guilty to a charge of fraud in the United States. Mr Banks is the majority shareholder of Terroir Capital LLC, which manages the Terroir Winery Fund.
The Terroir Winery Fund was granted consent to acquire Hawkes Bay winery Trinity Hill in 2014. Mr Banks is due to be sentenced on 26 June 2017.
A condition of consent required the ‘individuals with control’ of the Terroir Winery Fund (including Mr Banks) to remain of good character. In light of Mr Banks’ guilty plea, the OIO is considering whether Mr Banks remains of good character.
The OIO has met with Terroir Winery Fund’s representatives to make it clear that in our view Mr Banks is unlikely to meet his on-going obligation to remain of good character. If Mr Banks is not of good character, then we will seek to have him removed as an individual with control of sensitive land in New Zealand.
Terroir Winery Fund reported this matter to the OIO and is cooperating with our enquiries.
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