According to an article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, a well-traveled aluminium stockpile allegedly connected to China Zhongwang that has made international headlines is actually the founder of the firm’s retirement fund.
As explained in the article, citizens of the People’s Republic of China are forbidden from moving more than US$50,000 per year from the country’s shores. As expected, many wealthy Chinese have come up with ingenious ways of evading the prohibition, from money laundering to simply carrying cash across the border.
In emails between Liu Zhongtian and his attorney obtained by the WSJ, the stockpile was assembled in order to be sold over time. The emails further detail plans by Liu to establish corporations in Switzerland intended to hold his assets that had been moved out of China. Randow’s emails allegedly identify those companies as Eighty Eight Investments AG and Grand Provenance Holdings AG.
The article indicates that Grand Provenance is the parent company of GT88 Capital, a Singaporean company that they say shipped more than US$1 billion in aluminium to Mexico’s Aluminicaste Fundición de México. They say that this is the stockpile that triggered an investigation by the United States Commerce Department.
The emails, which allegedly contain communication between Liu and Herman Randow of Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr of Dallas, identify a retirement in Switzerland as Liu’s “ultimate goal.” Randow allegedly indicates that information relating to Liu and his plans “absolutely are confidential,” and that he’s “not typically authorized to freely disseminate this information to third parties outside of the family office.” GT88 Capital is allegedly identified in Randow’s emails as “simply the confidential holding companies for the family office for Mr. Liu Zhongtian.” The two Swiss firms “simply direct all his investments out of the People’s Republic of China,” he is alleged to have written.
A China Zhongwang spokesperson told the WSJ that Liu is unfamiliar with Munsch Hart and has never dealt with the firm. A spokesperson for the law firm said that it doesn’t currently represent Liu and hasn’t done so “for quite some time.”