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Murder case highlights property money trail from China to US

2017-5-18 17:33| 发布者: 忘忧草| 查看: 373| 评论: 1

摘要: A record bail posted in a California court for one of the accused in a murder case has thrown the spotlight on a property fortune that traces its roots to the Chinese military, in a graphic illustrati ...
A record bail posted in a California court for one of the accused in a murder case has thrown the spotlight on a property fortune that traces its roots to the Chinese military, in a graphic illustration of how money made in China has flooded overseas real estate markets.

Tiffany Li is a Chinese-American heiress accused of ordering a hit on her ex-boyfriend in San Mateo county, a leafy suburb of San Francisco where Teslas are more common than violent crime. In April she posted $4m in cash and $62m in California property as bail — among the highest ever posted in the US.

The eye-catching amount has drawn unwanted attention to her family’s business, a complex web of real estate interests whose origins can be traced to construction partnerships with the Chinese armed forces. It shows how guanxi, or connections, in China can translate into wealth in America.

California property markets have boomed as China’s newly wealthy seek havens overseas. Chinese homebuyers spent more than $28bn on US residential real estate in 2015, the most among foreign buyers, according to the Asia Society.

Ms Li’s mother, Li Jihong, made her initial fortune in Beijing in the 1980s by entering joint ventures with construction companies directly owned by the powerful General Logistics department of the People’s Liberation Army, according to corporate records and court cases. By the 1990s, the elder Ms Li’s property development company had snapped up desirable plots in the high-rent business district around the China World Hotel.

She owned a residence in California as early as the late 1980s, unusual for a mainland citizen of China in the early days of the country’s market reforms.

The younger Ms Li, now 31, studied at the University of San Francisco. Like many fu’erdai, or offspring of the nouveaux riches, she embraced an ostentatious lifestyle. “There was a lot of bling,” said a person close to her. “They utilised the wealth more than [the mother] did.”

Along the way she met Keith Green, an aspiring chef, but they later separated. Mr Green had been fighting for shared custody of their two toddlers in April 2016 when his body was found dumped in the woods with a bullet through his head.

Ms Li is accused of conspiring to kill him. Kaveh Bayat, who was dating Ms Li, is charged with murder, and Olivier Adella, one of his friends, is charged with helping. Ms Li is pleading not guilty.

Both Ms Li and her mother declined requests for interviews submitted by the Financial Times through their lawyers and other family representatives.

The case has thrown a spotlight on the Li family business. The elder Ms Li and her business partners buy and develop real estate in the Bay Area, using a network of companies run by the same directors. In at least two cases, these associates established a company, bought a property, then sold it to another entity they controlled (or ended up controlling), repeating this process several times.

One such property at 576-600 El Camino Real in Belmont was purchased in 2014 by a limited liability company that listed Tiffany and her brother as members — that is, the publicly listed owners. It was sold on, twice, to two other companies with the same registration address. After these two transactions, the LLC that ultimately owned the property shared most of its members with the first LLC.

While the names of the members are publicly available, those of the other investors in the LLCs are not. Transfers of a single property among LLCs allows outside investors to buy in and cash out without any requirement to disclose their identities, says Paul Gillis, an accounting expert at Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management. “It’s a typical Chinese investment pattern. This is how groups of Chinese often invest in US real estate.”

The Li family worked closely with CHS Development Group, now constructing the El Camino Real site. Asked why the property was transferred multiple times among LLCs, vice-president Mark Haesloop denied the deals were “right hand to left hand?.?.?.?They are all separate entities. The purpose for any sale is economic.” He declined to give further details.

Ms Li’s business facilitated real estate investment by Asian buyers, Steve Wagstaffe, San Mateo County district attorney, said. “We know that the business she was ostensibly in was finding real estate for people from China and eastern [Asia].”

Mr Haesloop disputed this. “She is not a broker for Chinese money coming into the United States,” he said. The identity of the investors in her projects and in CHS projects was “none of your business”, he said.

Mr Haesloop added he believed “most of them” were US citizens but acknowledged that, “frankly, some of these people I’ve never met, never laid eyes on”.

Prosecution worries that Ms Li might flee the country led to the record-setting bail amount. She is next due to appear in court in July.

Additional reporting by Sherry Fei Ju in Beijing


Tiffany Li(题图右)是一名美国华裔,是大笔财富的继承人,她被指控在圣马特奥市下令袭击她的前男友。圣马特奥市位于旧金山郊区,绿树成荫,此处的暴力犯罪远不如特斯拉(Tesla)常见。今年4月,她缴纳了400万美元现金,6200万美元房地产的保释金,这是美国迄今数额最高的保释金之一。

这一引人注目的金额为Tiffany Li的家族生意招致了意外关注。那是一张复杂的房地产利益网络,其起源可追溯至与中国军方的建设合作伙伴关系,显示了中国的“关系”是如何转化成美国的财富。

随着中国新富寻求海外避险,加州房地产市场获得了蓬勃发展。据亚洲协会(Asia Society)数据,2015年中国购房者在美国住宅房地产上支出280亿美元,为外国买家之首。

根据公司记录和法庭文件,上世纪八十年代,通过与中国人民解放军总后勤部下属建筑公司成立多家合资企业,Tiffany Li的母亲李继红在北京赚取了她的第一桶金。到上世纪九十年代,李继红的房地产开发公司在中国大饭店(China World Hotel)周边租金高昂的商业区抢先拿下了许多有利地块。


今年31岁的Tiffany Li曾就读旧金山大学(University of San Francisco)。像许多富二代一样,她也过着炫富的生活。一位认识她的人表示:“其生活充斥着奢侈品。他们对财富的利用远大于其母亲。”

期间Tiffany Li遇到了一位有抱负的厨师凯斯?格林(Keith Green,题图左),但后来他们分开了。2016年4月,格林的尸体被发现抛弃在树林中,他的头部被一发子弹贯穿,当时他一直在争取他们的两名幼儿的共同监护权。

Tiffany Li被指控共谋杀害格林。她当时的约会对象卡韦赫?巴亚特( Kaveh Bayat)被控谋杀,他的一个朋友奥利弗?阿代拉(Olivier Adella)被控协助犯案。Tiffany Li提出了无罪申请。

Tiffany Li和母亲都拒绝了英国《金融时报》通过其律师及其他家族代理人提出的采访请求。


其中一处位于贝尔蒙特El Camino Real 576-600号的房产由一家有限责任公司在2014年购入,Tiffany Li及其弟弟为该公司成员,即公开的所有者。该房产又被(分两次)出售给另外两家拥有相同注册地址的公司。经过这两次交易,最终拥有该房产的有限责任公司与第一家有限责任公司的成员基本上同为一批人。

虽然公司成员名字公开,但这些有限责任公司的其他投资者的名字并不公开。在有限责任公司之间转让一处房产可以让外部投资者买入并套现,但不必披露他们的身份,北京大学光华管理学院会计专家保罗?吉利斯(Paul Gillis)说。“这是典型的中国式投资。这是中国企业通常投资美国房地产的方式。”

李家与CHS Development Group合作密切,后者目前正在建设位于El Camino Real的项目。当被问及为什么该房产多次在有限责任公司之间转让时,该公司副总裁马克?黑斯卢普(Mark Haesloop)否认了这些交易为“内部换手……它们都是独立实体。每次出售都是为了经济目的。”他拒绝进一步提供细节。

圣马特奥县检察官史蒂夫?瓦格斯塔夫(Steve Wagstaffe)说,李家的生意便利了亚洲买家对房地产的投资。“我们知道,她的生意主要是为来自中国和东亚的人士寻找房产。”



检方设定创纪录的高额保释金,是由于担心Tiffany Li可能会逃离美国。她下次应于7月出庭。







刚表态过的朋友 (1 人)



引用 yotic 2017-5-21 22:21
that is so called polictics and wealth in china, dark and corrupt


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