The daughter of former premier Li Peng along with the owner of privately-owned conglomerate Orient Group have both denied allegations of a secret multi-million dollar bribery aiding Zurich Insurance’s entry into the Chinese market.
Malcolm Moore of the Telegraph reported last week that a secretive multi-million deal brokered by Li Xiaolin, the daughter of the ‘Butcher of Tiananmen Square’ and former premier Li Peng, was being investigated by anti-corruption officials.
Reportedly, a payment by the insurance company was used to bribe several high-ranking Chinese officials, and was backed by Li.
“The deal guaranteed Zurich Insurance, one of the world’s largest financial institutions, a hugely lucrative stake in a major Chinese insurance company at a time when foreign firms were barred from investing in the sector,” Moore wrote.
The Telegraph reportedly got hold of some transcripts from the US court case which shined light on the ‘hurdles’ western businesses must jump when trying to enter the Chinese market.
Li, head of China Power International Development, took to CPI’s official Weibo to call out the allegations as “vicious slander”, according to SCMP.
Both Zurich Insurance and privately-owned conglomerate Orient Group are denying the allegations as well.
Zhang Hongwei, the chairman of the Shanghai-listed conglomerate, said in a statement that his group’s Hong Kong branch once helped Zurich Insurance develop its presence in China, for which it was paid US$16.9 million, but that it was “normal business behaviour”.
In the statement, posted on the company’s website, Zhang also denied that Orient Group had sold a stake in New China Life to Zurich Insurance, nor did his company have business dealings with “a woman surnamed Li”.
Li Xiaolin’s name is now being censored on Chinese web sites, and Xinhua’s report on the story mentioned only a ‘Suspicious Insurance Deal’ with Li, omitting the fact that she was the daughter of Li Peng.
[Image Credit: Xinhua]