HK firm’s hedge fund asks judge to block sale of Guo Wengui’s US$78m Manhattan flat, report says
Company suing billionaire tycoon for what it claims are defaulted debts fears Guo will ensure proceeds of sale ‘are moved immediately outside the United States’, according to Forbes
Fugitive tycoon Guo Wengui has put his lavish Manhattan apartment on the market but a Hong Kong-based firm’s hedge fund suing Guo for an unpaid loan wants a New York judge to block the sale, Forbes magazine reported.
The full-floor apartment overlooking Central Park in The Sherry-Netherland – from where Guo has made a series of allegations against top Communist Party officials in recent months – was listed for US$78 million by Guo last month, two years after he paid US$67.5 million for it in an all-cash deal, according to the report.
But Pacific Alliance Asia Opportunity Fund, which sued Guo in April in New York for US$88 million of defaulted debts it claims it is owed by Guo, has filed a request for a prejudgement order of attachment on the top-floor apartment, the report said.
The Cayman Islands-based hedge fund is a unit of Hong Kong’s Pacific Alliance Investment Management Limited. The hedge fund, which is eyeing Guo’s luxurious Fifth Avenue property to collect on the debt, said it was worried Guo would “ensure that any proceeds from such sale or transfer are moved immediately outside the United States”, according to the report.
The lawsuit centres around loans Guo had borrowed from the hedge fund to develop Pangu Plaza, a dragon-shaped building next to Beijing’s Olympic Park.
The report said Guo had filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit from Manhattan’s New York state court, claiming it was not the appropriate venue for the dispute.
“New York is a wholly inconvenient forum for resolving this dispute between an investment fund headquartered in Hong Kong and a citizen of the People’s Republic of China over contracts signed in Hong Kong, governed by Hong Kong law, and relating to a real estate development in Beijing,” Guo was quoted as saying in a legal filing.
Guo has been mired in a tangle of lawsuits in New York. Apart from the hedge fund, he is also being sued by journalist Hu Shuli, SOHO China chief Pan Shiyi and Chinese conglomerate HNA Group for libel. In addition, a group of nine companies also lunched a US$50 million lawsuit in a bid to obtain compensation for assets they weren’t able to recover following victories in Beijing.