New Zealand mega-dairy Fonterra has welcomed the Serious Fraud Office’s investigation into breaches of export rules by SPD, a company associated with Kiwi Dairies, which last year merged with New Zealand Dairy Group to form Fonterra.

For a year, the Agriculture Ministry has been investigated the alleged breaches in dairy exports by SPD, but the Serious Fraud Office is now taking over the case, which is believed to involve some NZ$50m (US$24.1m) irregularities.

Fonterra itself carried out an investigation late last year which determined that export rules had been breached, but it attributed the errors to over-zealous employees and denied any evidence of improper personal gain, reported the Christchurch Press. The findings of the investigation were handed to the government.

Fonterra chairman Henry van der Heyden welcomed the investigation yesterday, saying it would allow the matter to be settled “once and for all”. He offered the Serious Fraud Office his group’s cooperation.