• Sat
  • Aug 30, 2014
  • Updated: 11:53pm

Fugitive tycoon Zeng Wei's offshore holdings tied to loan scandal

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 February, 2014, 4:49am
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 February, 2014, 4:49am

Fugitive mainland Chinese tycoon Zeng Wei, who is facing extradition to Hong Kong from the United States, is tied to at least five offshore companies, including one that was involved in a multimillion-dollar bribes-for-loans racket investigated by the ICAC, leaked company documents show.

The property developer, hotel and golf course mogul is wanted in Hong Kong on charges of bribery and conspiracy, in relation to three loans amounting to HK$2.7 billion he got from ICBC (Asia) in Hong Kong between 2006 and 2007.

He and his wife, US citizen Nicole Yang, were found to have held stakes or directorships in at least five offshore companies registered in the British Virgin Islands, according to documents that were provided by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

The leaked records show that in October 2007 - on the very day that Zeng asked ICBC (Asia) for a loan of HK$2 billion - a mysterious party under the name of ICBC (Asia) Nominee Limited became a shareholder in his BVI-registered company Lozatow Investments.

A bank nominee usually is a client of the bank. It is unclear if the lender just holds the stake for a third party.

The loan application was initially rejected. Zeng reapplied and ICBC (Asia) approved the loan in November 2007.

Lozatow Investment passed its share in Shine City International Limited, the company that received the loan, to ICBC (Asia) in March 2008.

Holding stakes in offshore companies does not in itself indicate criminal intent or any wrongdoing, but the practice of moving wealth to offshore tax haven has raised questions due to their secrecy and lack of accountability.

ICBC (Asia) would not comment. The ICAC also declined to comment on Zeng's case, citing the extradition request to the US. Zeng's lawyers Bruce Berline and Nelson Xu in Guam were unavailable for comment.

Zeng, 51, was arrested at the airport of Saipan, a US territory in the Pacific Ocean, last month when he failed to pass border control with a Chinese passport under a different name.

He is scheduled to stand trial in Saipan on April 14 on his attempted misuse of a passport and making a false statement.

A court in the territory rejected his application for bail on February 10.


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This article is now closed to comments

This case is just the tip of the ice-berg. Mainly mainland banks in HK primary serve mainland related clients & so you can guess how they do business.
Which is another reason not to allow investor migrants from the Mainland in HK (albeit with fake African residency). No matter what one thinks of the British administration, they would not be putting up with this cr@p the way the HK government seemeingly does. Go ahead and tell me about the corruption in 1972 that spurned the creation of the ICAC and I will ask inquisitively, oh you mean the time when China was having its cultural revolution.? We live in different times and everybody should be judged by today's standards no matter what issue is being discussed. Mainland corruption os sowing the seeds for the destruction of Hong Kong hard won good reputation for rule of law, transparency and good governance.


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