Police have apologised after erroneously raiding the Wellington apartment of highly-regarded diplomat Gerard van Bohemen – a former senior solicitor at Russell McVeagh
and partner at Buddle Findlay
and Chen Palmer.
The raid, which took place on Friday and included several central Wellington streets, involved officers searching for clandestine methamphetamine labs as part of Operation Titan.
While the apartment is in van Bohemen’s name, he is currently based in New York as chair of the UN Security Council, and the apartment is occupied by his adult children.
Police told media they had acted on incorrect information, and had since apologised.
A statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade released a statement on behalf of van Bohemen, requesting media respect the privacy of his children.
Van Bohemen is a well-respected diplomat, with a legal career that saw him appear in the Privy Council in London twice.
A Victoria University alumnus, van Bohemen graduated with a Bachelor of Laws with first class honours and Bachelor of Arts in English.
He started his career with the Ministry in 1982 in the legal division, before working at the New Zealand Mission to the United Nations in New York.
After 14 years at the Ministry he worked as a senior solicitor at Russell McVeagh
’s Auckland offices, before becoming Deputy Permanent New Zealand Representative at the New Zealand Mission in New York during New Zealand's membership of the UN Security Council in 1993/94.
He was also a senior solicitor then a partner for eight years at Buddle Findlay
's Auckland offices and a partner at Chen Palmer in Wellington.
He is now New Zealand’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations.
Before this, he was Deputy Secretary at the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, responsible for Multilateral and Legal Affairs, overseeing the Ministry’s Consular Division, Environment Division, International Security and Disarmament Division, Legal Division, and United Nations, Human Rights & Commonwealth Division.