Wen Jiabao
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Wen Jiabao. Photo: EPA

Beijing denounces NYT report on Wen family wealth

Family of Wen Jiabao owns hidden fortune, New York Times report says

Wen Jiabao

China’s Foreign Ministry hit out at a New York Times report on Friday which claimed that Premier Wen Jiabao’s family had amassed massive wealth during his term in office.

“Some reports smear China and have ulterior motives,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in response to a question about the report, which said that Wen’s family controlled assets worth US$2.7 billion dollars from 1992 until this year.

The said on Thursday in a report that the relatives of China’s prime minister have controlled assets worth at least US$2.7 billion, in a move likely to further embarrass the Communist Party ahead of its power handover.

Their investments span banks, jewellers, tourist resorts, telecommunications companies and infrastructure projects, with the owners of the assets often concealed by using offshore vehicles or complicated holding structures.

The investigation, based on corporate and regulatory records from 1992 to this year, compiled alleged dealings by Wen’s son, daughter, younger brother and brother-in-law, as well as his mother.

It gave no figure for the family’s net worth, but calculated the value of the assets they controlled over this period.

The lead up to the Communist Party’s 18th congress starting on November 8, when successors to Wen and President Hu Jintao will be revealed, has already been tarnished by the case of rising star Bo Xilai.

The party boss from the huge southwestern city of Chongqing was expelled and will go on trial over corruption accusations and alleged crimes linked to the murder of a British businessman, for which his wife has been convicted.

In June, Bloomberg news agency investigated the business interests owned by the relatives of Xi Jinping, the man tipped to be the next Chinese president. The investigation alleges that Xi's relatives have also built up a giant portfolio of investments in property and stocks.

Video by the New York Times