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Scandals hit Crafar bidders

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发表于 2010-8-11 18:04:13 |显示全部楼层
By Karyn Scherer

Chen Fashu and Tang Jun. Photo / Getty ImagesTwo of the main investors behind a Chinese bid for the Crafar dairy farms have become embroiled in separate scandals in China.

Chen Fashu, a gold mining tycoon ranked by Forbes magazine as China's 11th wealthiest person, has been accused of not delivering on his promise to establish China's biggest private charity.

His right-hand man, Tang Jun, has also hit the headlines for making false claims on his CV.

Mr Chen, who is known as China's Warren Buffet, announced in October last year that he planned to set up a Chinese version of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation by donating more than $2 billion worth of shares from his own portfolio.

But a Guangdong newspaper says the charity has received only 160 million yuan ($32 million), and officials were unable to say when more money would be forthcoming.

Mr Chen has played down the report. But it is Mr Tang who has faced an even bigger media barrage.

He is a celebrity in China for being the country's highest paid chief executive, and is the author of a popular book on how to be successful.

He is reportedly paid 1 billion yuan to manage Mr Chen's family business, New Huadu Group.

The two men are close business associates. Mr Tang manages Mr Chen's charity, and also acts as a spokesman for Mr Chen, who is notoriously media shy.

Last month, it was revealed that Mr Tang may have misled the public about his qualifications.

The former head of Microsoft in China has claimed to have a PhD from the California Institute of Technology.

He has since admitted that is wrong, and that his PhD is from another American institute - which turns out to have been closed down for being an unregistered "diploma mill", which sold degrees.

Mr Tang, who has also been accused of falsely claiming to have registered two patents, responded to the scandal by telling the Beijing News: "Losers cheat some people and get caught. Winners cheat the whole world all the time."

The scandal has sparked a public debate in China about integrity, which has since been fuelled by a report in the Shanghai Daily which claims Mr Tang has also been linked by police to a $30 million housing loan fraud in the province of Jiangsu.

The two men are helping to bankroll the bid by Hong Kong company Natural Dairy for 16 Crafar farms.

Both have bought shares in Natural Dairy, which has announced plans to spend up to $1.5 billion establishing a business in New Zealand to export UHT milk to Hong Kong and China.

A Herald investigation has revealed the two men visited New Zealand in April. Among other things, they met with members of the Chinese Business Roundtable Council (CBRC), an Auckland group founded by businessman Jack Chen, who is also an investor behind the Chinese bid.

The CBRC has links with Labour and National MPs. Labour MP Raymond Huo was a member of its executive, and Labour leader Phil Goff is its patron.

In 2004 Jack Chen was found guilty of "serious breaches" of Chinese securities regulations. The same year he founded a business called New Zealand Pure & Natural with former National Prime Minister Dame Jenny Shipley. The other investor in the business is Sammy Wong, husband of Ethnic Affairs Minister Pansy Wong.

Mrs Wong told the Herald last week that as a member of the Chinese community she knew of Jack Chen and his associate, May Wang, but did not know them well.
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