Chinese estates in Bordeaux seized in fraud investigation
French fraud investigators have confiscated 10 estates in Bordeaux belonging to the Chinese Haichang Group over alleged financial irregularities involved in their original purchase.
Officers from the Central Office for the Repression of Major Financial Crime (OCRGDF) have frozen the ownership of 10 properties over the course of this year following a four-year-long investigation into the source of the funds used to acquire them.
Although the French organised crime bureau has not named any of the châteaux in question, they are all believed to belong to the Chinese Haichang Group, which is run by Naijie Qu and which acquired 24 châteaux – mostly situated in the Libournais – during a buying spree between 2010 and 2013.
A judge will now examine the OCRGDF’s case and decide the fate of the estates. Operations at each property are said to be running as normal as it is not how they were being run that was under suspicion.
Investigators reportedly began conducting an inquiry into the funds behind the purchase of the châteaux following reports of financial irregularities connected with the Haichang Group back in China.
In 2014 the Chinese National Audit Office accused the company of misspending some US$43 million, although no formal charges were ever filed.
French authorities have been looking into potential instances of fraud, tax fraud, forgery and money laundering in connection with the buying of the estates.