Singaporean-Chinese Businessman Goh Chin Soon has Filed With the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes in a Case That Could Involve Corruption and Embezzlement in China

SINGAPORE, Feb. 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — In 1993, Goh Chin Soon traveled to Qingdao with an investment group that had been organized by the former Singapore prime minister Goh Chok Tong. In September of that year, Goh signed a development contract with the Qingdao High-Tech Park Management Committee; Song Fatang, the Executive Vice Governor of Shandong Province, Secretary Yu of the Qingdao Municipal Committee, and Mayor Qin of Qingdao City were all present at the ceremony. Subsequently, investments were made in three projects in Qingdao that year, including Qingdao International City, Qingdao Marina City, and Qingdao International Beer City, covering totally 8,466 mu of land. Overall, the development of 6,000 houses, villas, apartments, and shops began on approximately 600,000 square meters of land. This development quickly attracted even more investment, which caused land prices there to soar.

Then, in April of 2004, the development was suddenly derailed. In an interview in 2008, Goh stated that “corrupt officials, who coveted his success, conspired together to accuse Goh of possessing firearms and even an army.” Goh was illegally detained and placed into custody. “The price of the assets skyrocketed—they were big pieces of fat, juicy meat,” Goh said. “It is my assertion that certain Qingdao officials, illegal gangsters, and local profiteers took advantage of their positions to abuse the government’s power and brazenly colluded with court judges at all levels,” Goh further explained in the interview.

“The police created several false cases to snatch up my assets, illegally converted the investment in Beer City into debt, and then caused me to go bankrupt in just four days,” Goh has stated, showing reports from various Chinese language newspapers in 2008. “My Beer City Company and 463 mu of land worth more than USD 1.54 billion were seized.”

Although Goh was acquitted and released in December of 2004, the company’s assets were seized and the land and assets were transferred by auction during his 7-month imprisonment.

According to the investigation, local government officials were involved in the organized crime syndicate. “It is my assertion that the secretary of the Municipal Party Committee, the standing committee of the District Committee, the secretary of the Political and Law Commission, the officials of Laoshan District, the head of the Public Security Department, the president of the Laoshan District Court, the vice-president of the Shandong Provincial High Court, and the bank governor were all involved in this case,” Goh said, in reference to a press conference in July of 2008. “Some of them were investigated and sentenced, but some are still at large.”

It has been alleged that in order to prevent this case from affecting its international image, the Chinese side has repeatedly requested through various channels to negotiate with Goh not to disclose the evidence he has and to refund part of the money. However, the amount that has allegedly been offered is far below the actual value of the reported embezzled assets.

After Goh filed an arbitration request with the World Bank Group’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), the ICSID, in turn, formally filed a case at the end of 2020. ICSID is an international arbitration institution for legal dispute resolution and conciliation between international investors and states. Goh is now planning to hold an international press conference to file for international arbitration and an indictment against certain alleged corrupt officials in the Chinese government for allegedly robbing foreign investors of billions of dollars of assets. Goh has stated that he has evidence about the people involved in the case, and he continues to caution foreign investors to carefully assess the high risk of investing in China.

Ronni Chua

SOURCE Goh Chin Soon