Panama Papers scares the Chinese Dragon. Among the names that come out of the files owned by Mossack Fonseca law firm there are also the relatives of some of the most powerful men in the socialist state. Such as Deng Jiagui, brother of Chinese President Xi Jinping, the owner of two offshore companies created in 2009 on the British Virgin Islands, when Xi was vice president of China: Best Effect Enterprises Limited and Health Mining International Limited.
Business companies run by the family of the most powerful man in China – and supporter of the anti-corruption campaign, which is currently in its fourth year of working – are not a mystery: Deng Jiagui’s name had already surfaced in 2014, during an investigation conducted by ICIJ (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists) known as “China leaks”, which laid bare the fortunes hidden in tax havens by men related to Chinese leaders. Back then, Deng was presented as a former tobacco industry executive who switched to running some groups present on the luxury market in Hong Kong. Before that, Xi’s relatives were proven to be related to property, telecommunications, and rare earths businesses. The Bloomberg agency, which published the survey in June 2012, had been obscured by the censorship of the Great Firewall because of the revelations that were affecting the family of the former second citizen of China.
Among the names that appear in the investigation there are also those of Li Xiaolin, daughter to former prime minister at the time of the student demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, Li Peng. During the years when her father was in power, according to the documents Suddeutsche Zeitung obtained and shared globally through the ICIJ network, Li’s name is linked to a foundation in Lichtenstein, which controlled a company registered on the British Virgin Islands. Among the other names that surfaced there is also Jia Qinglin’s niece. Jia Qinglin had been one of the most powerful men in China until he withdrew from the Politburo Standing Committee, the leaders of the Communist Party of China, in 2012.
Among the names that appear, finally, there is also that of Patrick Henry Devillers, architect and Gu Kailai’s former business partner, and the wife of the former leader who fell into disgrace, Bo Xilai. The list of therelatives of Chinese (former) leaders who are in charge of offshore companies is even longer. The investigation that dates back to two years ago, mentioned also less famous names, such as Hu Yishi, cousin to former Chinese President Hu Jintao, or Wu Jianchang, son of Deng Xiaoping, the father of China’s post-Mao reforms. “China leaks” confirmed also that Wen Runchung – daughter to former Prime Minister, Wen Jiabao, better known by her stage name Lily Chang – was involved in murky business. According to an investigation conducted by the New York Times, she has stolen at least 1.8 billion dollars in the shape of bribes for connecting some Chinese companies to the US banking giant JP Morgan. Her father had been another “victim” of yet another investigation, the New York Times published in October 2012, which revealed the family business of the outgoing prime minister Wen Jiabao a few days before the leadership turnover that was going to be sanctioned by the Party Congress on November 2012.