New Zealand's Court of Appeal has knocked back an appeal from a firm of solicitors linked by British fraud investigators to a $US100 million "boiler room" scam.
The court has dismissed the appeal of the solicitors against a High Court judgment denying them a judicial review of a District Court decision to grant police a warrant to search their offices.
The firm and its partners cannot be identified because of a suppression order.
The appeal court's ruling on Thursday says the firm's offices were searched on August 8 and 9, 2011 by the police and New Zealand Serious Fraud Office, following a request from the United Kingdom SFO to the Attorney-General.
The request related to boiler room frauds by Price Stone Group, which involved Madrid-based salespeople using pressure tactics to sell shares to UK investors.
"The frauds had generated over $US100 million from the sales of worthless shares to unsuspecting investors. The fraudsters had established an extensive global network of accounts through which the funds were `laundered'," the judgment says.
Seven of the people involved in running the boiler rooms had been charged in the UK and a "Mr J" had pleaded guilty in Hong Kong to money laundering and been sentenced to five and a half years' prison.
The UK SFO's request to New Zealand detailed links between "X", a partner in the firm of solicitors, and individuals involved in the fraud.
X was said to have a longstanding association with "the conspirators as an adviser, and advocate and intermediary with independent banks, civil litigator and a representative of those alleged to be involved in the conspiracy accused of criminal conduct.
"The request stated that X had carried out the role of Group counsel, describing himself as `global legal counsel', and providing advice to all tiers of the fraudulent enterprise."
The UK SFO asked for the firm's premises and X's home to be searched and X to be interviewed about his involvement with suspects and defendants in their investigation.
The UK SFO subsequently withdrew its request for a warrant to search X's home.