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Chinese tycoon sues local government for $640m

来源:FT中文网    2018-02-06 12:04

        One of China’s richest men has revealed an attempt to sue a municipal government for Rmb4bn ($640m) over a suspended project to build a new city, the biggest case of its kind brought by an entrepreneur against the state.        中国最大的富豪之一严介和披露,已尝试起诉一个市政府,就一个被暂停的新城建设项目索讨40亿元人民币(合6.4亿美元)欠款。这是企业家状告政府的同类案件中迄今金额最大的一起。
        Yan Jiehe said the company he founded, China Pacific Construction Group, had not been paid for its work on Lanzhou New City, a settlement once billed as “Las Vegas in the Gobi”, where diggers flattened dozens of hills before officials suspended the project in 2013.        严介和表示,太平洋建设集团(China Pacific Construction Group)至今没有收到“兰州新城”有关工程的款项。严介和是太平洋建设集团的创始人,“兰州新城”项目曾被标榜为“戈壁滩上的拉斯维加斯”,在挖掘机夷平了众多山峦后,政府官员于2013年暂停了该项目。
        The lawsuit, which Mr Yan said was accepted by a local court in 2015, highlights risks to infrastructure and real estate companies as Beijing curbs wasteful infrastructure projects to reduce local government debt. The most prominent victim to date was a $4.6bn subway project in Inner Mongolia, axed last year.        严介和表示,2015年当地一家法院受理了这起案件。
        “Over four years has passed and we are running out of patience so we’ve decided to make the lawsuit public,” Mr Yan told a crowd of domestic reporters in Lanzhou on Monday. Despite Mr Yan’s efforts to draw attention to his case, several Chinese journalists told the Financial Times the issue would be too sensitive to report on.        该案突显了在中国限制各地上马浪费性基础设施项目以减少地方政府债务之际,基建及房地产公司所面临的风险。目前为止最引人注目的是去年内蒙古被叫停了一个46亿美元的地铁项目。
        Fines for late payment mean the ultimate reward could be as high as Rmb7.7bn, he added. Lanzhou’s publicity office said it could not immediately comment on the case.        严介和周一在兰州告诉一群国内记者:“4年多过去了,我们逐渐失去了耐心,因此我们决定将这起诉讼公开。”尽管严介和试图引起人们对此案的关注,但几名中国记者告诉英国《金融时报》,这个问题太敏感,不太可能报道出来。
        Mr Yan, 58, whose family wealth of $17bn puts him at number eight on China’s best-known rich list, is known for his outspoken criticism of state-owned companies that dominate China’s infrastructure sector. A persistent networker, he met President Donald Trump’s former campaign adviser Paul Manafort last year to discuss potential US investments.        严介和还说,由于逾期付款要支付罚金,最终的赔偿金额可能达到77亿元人民币。兰州市宣传部门表示,暂时无法就此案置评。
        Lanzhou launched two huge infrastructure projects in 2012 when an area slightly larger than New York City was earmarked as a “new district” to which farmers and government offices were to be relocated.        现年58岁的严介和以170亿美元的家庭财富排在中国富豪榜第8位,他以敢于直率批评在中国基础设施行业占主导地位的国有企业而闻名。严介和一贯善于结交人脉,他去年会见了美国总统唐纳德•特朗普(Donald Trump)的前竞选顾问保罗•马纳福特(Paul Manafort),讨论可能赴美国投资的事宜。
        Separately, an area twice that size was designated as a “new city” requiring the tops to be sliced off hundreds of hills for residential development. Mr Yan said at the time that it would have “the flavour of water city Venice, and of a Las Vegas oasis in the Gobi”. Initial investment was reported at Rmb20bn.        兰州市在2012年启动了两个大型基础设施项目,一个面积比纽约稍大的区域被划为“兰州新区”,计划让农民和部分政府部门搬迁到那里。
        But state media said in 2013 that the ambitious city project had been axed for failing to obtain environmental impact assessments, and the land flattened by Mr Yan’s company now resembles an empty lunar landscape.        还有一片面积有新区两倍大的地方被指定为“兰州新城”,计划推平数百个山头用于住宅开发。严介和当时表示,新城将兼有“水城威尼斯和戈壁滩上的绿洲拉斯维加斯的风情”。据报道称,最初的投资为200亿元人民币。
        It is not the first time Mr Yan has turned debt collector — he claims to have successfully sued six local governments in 2015 over delayed payments. But the amounts were smaller and the local governments involved had less clout than Lanzhou, which is the capital of Gansu, a province larger than Zimbabwe with a population of 26m.        但官方媒体在2013年报道称,由于未能通过环境影响评估,这个雄心勃勃的新城项目被叫停,而被严介和的公司平整过的土地现在就像是空旷的月球地面。
        Chinese courts are controlled by the Communist party and local officials are known to interfere in the outcome of cases they consider sensitive. Mr Yan said the downfall of several former top Lanzhou officials in recent corruption scandals, and instructions he said top provincial officials had passed down to the Lanzhou government on how to handle the case, meant he was confident in winning compensation this year.        严介和不是第一次催讨债务——他宣称在2015年因6个地方政府延迟付款而告赢了它们。但这些债务数额较小,涉及的地方政府的影响力也不如甘肃省会兰州。甘肃面积比津巴布韦还大,有2600万人口。
        Mr Yan said the case would be a test of China’s commitment to the rule of law.        中国法院受共产党控制,据悉地方官员会干涉他们认为敏感的案件的处理结果。严介和表示,数名前兰州高官在最近的腐败丑闻中倒台,以及省级高官就兰州政府如何处理该案做出了指示,这让他有信心在今年赢得赔偿。
        “I depend on the law and not political connections,” he said.        严介和表示,该案将会是对中国法治承诺的检验。
        Gansu has been hit hard by China’s deleveraging drive, with dozens of projects cancelled over the past year, driving fixed-asset investment in the province down 40 per cent in the first 11 months of last year to its lowest level since 2012.        他说:“我依靠的是法律,而不是政治人脉。”

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