The NZ Herald has revealed that former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker has been named in connection to a major international drug importation and supply conspiracy case in New Zealand. Parker has not been charged with any criminal offences in regards to this case.
For the past two years Parker has waged a legal battle with New Zealand’s High Court and Court of Appeal to suppress the courts (and media) from reporting his name in relation to this case. However, yesterday the Supreme Court handed Parker a loss on that front, allowing his name suppression order to expire.
With that order no longer in place, media outlets can state that it is alleged that Parker played a role in the importation of methamphetamine into the country. Specifically, it is alleged that Parker participated in transporting and changing currency connected to such imports.
Parker has strongly denied the allegations. In an affidavit Parker states, “I have never been involved in the importation of class A drugs. I have never changed or transported money for the defendants. I have never been involved in the purchase, supply of consumption of methamphetamine.”
The allegations naming Parker were aired during a court case involving Tevita Fanupo, Toni Funau, Tevita Kulu and Halane Ikiua.
During the case prosecutors pointed to text messages from Kulu to a Californian drug supplier known as ‘Coka’. Those messages start with Kulu stating he had “paid one of the guys I was with today to change [the price] into [US] currency”.
The second message read. “Alright bro..I got u tho..have all ur money..the dude I was with that’s on my snapchat is going to change it to U.S currency..they won’t question him bout all the money..cause he’s the WOB boxing champion so pple know he rich anyways so he’ll be good to change it with no hassles.”
In Finau’s trial a series of messages sent using the app Wickr were presented between him and a user called “joeboxerparker”. Parker’s lawyer has accepted that this is Parker’s Wickr account name.
The Crown alleged that messages sent by the joeboxerparker account arranged the purchase or supply of small amounts of drugs. They also claim that whoever was using that account put Finau in contact with a drug supplier.
Police in New Zealand have tried to interview Parker about these text messages, but Parker has exercised his right to silence. A search warrant for Parker’s house was obtained by police, but never executed.
Parker is one of New Zealand’s most successful and well-known athletes. After an amateur career that saw Parker win bronze at the 2010 Youth World Championships and silver at the 2010 Youth Summer Olympics, Parker turned pro in 2012.
He won his first 24 pro fights, beating Andy Ruiz Jr. for the vacant WBO heavyweight title in 2016 and then defending that title versus Razvan Cojanu and Hughie Fury the following year.
In 2018 Parker fought Anthony Joshua for the WBA (Super), IBF and IBO heavyweight titles. Parker lost that bout by unanimous decision. He then lost a unanimous decision to Dillian Whyte.
Since then Parker has gone 3-0. Two weeks ago he defeated Junior Fa by unanimous decision to win the vacant WBO Oriental heavyweight title.