A row between the controversial Chinese philanthropist Chen Guangbiao and a New York-based NGO over a supposedly "fake" United Nations certificate of honours escalated yesterday with the billionaire vowing to take the matter to court.
Chen was awarded a certificate with the honorary titles of "world's most prominent philanthropist" and "global peace and goodwill ambassador" by New-York-based China Foundation for Global Partnership (CFGP) at his charity luncheon for homeless New Yorkers last month.
"In support of the United Nation [sic]", CFGP awards Chen 'China's moral role model and number one philanthropist', with the two honorary titles," reads the certificate that Chen received after donating US$30,000.
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Chen later claimed he might have been deceived by the CFGP, and planned to sue it.
Yesterday Chen posted as evidence screen captures of supposed Wechat messages from a woman named "Lulu".
According to the screen captures, a woman identifying herself as "from the UN" met Chen on June 23 two days ahead of his charity lunch, and asked Chen for a second meeting the next day "to discuss further details of the award and UN-related matters".
She also appeared to have asked Chen for a US$30,000 donation to the foundation after their second meeting, and promised Chen board membership in the CFGP.
CFGP, however, said in an official statement that Chen had provided a pre-made certificate bearing the UN logo and asked that it be presented to him.
The GFGP statement added that its staff had explained clearly to Chen that they "do not and cannot represent the UN in any capacity". CFGP claimed it then provided an award to Chen "from the foundation itself".
"I promise to give US$1 million as compensation, and place a public statement in the New York Times to apologise to all citizens of the world, if I offered the certificate [as the CFGP had accused me of]," Chen wrote on his weibo, vowing to sue the CFGP and "Lulu", and make public more evidence if necessary .
Details of CFGP's board and directors could not be located at the foundation's website last night. But CFGP's webpages carrying directors' bios mentioned a "Lulu Zhou" as a managing partner and a board member.
Neither CFGP's board members nor the UN could be reached for comment yesterday.