Guo Wengui

Fugitive tycoon Guo Wengui ‘met Abu Dhabi royals through Tony Blair, leading to US$3 billion deal’

Abu Dhabi authorities provided financing to ACA Capital, which then funded Guo’s stake in mainland brokerage Haitong Securities, report says

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 May, 2017, 12:25pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 25 May, 2017, 11:27pm

Chinese fugitive tycoon Guo Wengui was introduced through former British prime minister Tony Blair to the Abu Dhabi royal family, who then helped Guo to raise the US$3 billion needed to take control of a mainland brokerage, according to a Caixin report on Thursday.

Guo – who is wanted by Beijing for alleged corruption and subject to an Interpol “red notice” – apparently travelled with Blair to the Middle East in 2013 on a private jet.

The report said Guo paid for the jet, and Blair introduced Guo to Abu Dhabi crown prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and other members of the royal family.

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Blair was at the time a special representative of the Quartet of international powers – the US, European Union, Russia and the United Nations – seeking a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

Abu Dhabi authorities later provided US$3 billion to Hong Kong-based fund manager ACA Capital, which is jointly run by Guo, the report said.

ACA Capital then provided US$500 million for Guo to acquire shares in Haitong Securities, China’s second-largest securities firm by assets based in Shanghai, according to Caixin.

The brokerage firm had said it would issue new shares to raise HK$30 billion (US$3.85 billion) from seven designated investors in December 2014.

Among those investors, three were closely connected to Guo, according to the report. A company Guo controlled bought 569 million Haitong shares in 2015 for US$1.275 billion, using US$500 million in funds from ACA Capital and another US$775 million borrowed from UBS.

But Guo made huge losses on the Haitong investment during the stock market meltdown in the summer of 2015, leading him to file a lawsuit in the United States against UBS in October 2015 seeking compensation for losses on a margin call.

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A US court dismissed the lawsuit, saying it was not the appropriate venue to adjudicate on an investment that took place and was negotiated in Hong Kong.

In a response on Twitter, Guo dismissed the Caixin report as “lies”.

Blair’s office said the former leader had known Guo as a friend for 10 years and Guo had in the past been a donor to Blair’s charitable endeavours. Blair never had a commercial contract with Guo nor received any fees from him, it said.

“You may also know that Mr Blair has in any event now wound up his company business to concentrate on his not-for-profit activities. So your story is wrong,” the office said in an email reply.

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Guo – a property developer with close ties to former deputy state security minister Ma Jian who is facing corruption charges – has been mainly based in the United States since leaving China.

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He has made allegations against a long list of Chinese individuals and companies since January in interviews with overseas Chinese media and Voice of America’s Chinese channel, and via his Twitter account.