A U.S District Court order granting a preliminary injunction for Chinese investor Charles Liu to repatriate foreign assets obtained for the purpose of building and operating a proton cancer treatment center in the United States has prompted the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to repeat its call for the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) to launch an investigation to determine whether the businessman and his wife, Lisa Wang, may have committed financial crimes in the country.
Liu and his wife were being promoted as the main architects behind the proposed EC$2 billion dollar Mt. Hartman project in the south of the island.
When the SEC announced back in June that it had laid fraud charges against Liu, who is accused of misusing approximately two thirds of monies raised from investors for the purpose of building and operating a proton cancer treatment center (Beverly Proton Centre) in the US, the Keith Mitchell government had expressed the view that there was no reason to believe that there was a relationship between the alleged fraudulent activities of Liu and his activities in Grenada.
The NDC had called for Government to launch “a full investigation into the circumstances under which Charles Liu was admitted as a citizen of Grenada under the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CBI) and under which his investment company, United Damei Investment Company Ltd. was appointed (as) an international marketing agent of Grenada under the CBI”.
NDC Chairman Vincent Roberts who addressed the Charles Liu issue at the weekly press conference in St. George’s on Monday told reporters that the most recent court document states that Liu and his wife raised USD24.7M in capital contributions and collected approximately USD2.2M in administrative fees (and that) despite this large capital raised little progress was made on the cancer treatment centre.
The document also states that “after receiving investor funds Mr Liu disbursed “USD6, 714, 508 (into his personal bank) account, 1, 583, 000 to Mrs. Wang, USD7, 722, 000 to Overseas Chinese (a company in China) USD3, 185, 000 to the United Damei Group and USD$ 1, 387, 500 to a company called Delsk.”
Roberts indicated that based on the court documents, “USD118, 605. 11, was also transferred to a bank in Grenada.”
When asked to identify the local bank, the Congress official said he is aware of the bank where the monies were lodged but did not want to name it.
The US District Court noted that most of the monies transferred by Liu came from capital contributions, which were not used to construct, develop or operate the treatment centre.
The SEC has provided evidence that “between October 1, 2014 and the present at least $26 967, 918 was deposited from 50 investors into the PPEB5 (Passport) Fund and specific proton accounts. Of that amount roughly 24.7M was deposited as capital contributions and 2.25M as administrative fees.”
Liu is accused of transferring USD11M of investor funds to three firms in China and diverted another US7M to his wife’s personal account.
Roberts pointed out that “millions of dollars of that money was then sent overseas (out of the US) between October 1, 2014 and April 30, 2016, three Chinese recruiters (a company called) Overseas Chinese, UDG and Delsk received USD12, 924 500 from the bank accounts of the corporate defendant.”
It was also noted that other disbursements made by the corporate defendants to Liu and Wang also appear to have led to funds being moved to China.
The evidence shows that “on March 10, 2016 Liu’s personal account received USD1M from the PPEB5 account and $800, 000 from the Beverly Proton account and that he also transferred USD750, 000 to China Merchant Bank in China the next day (and that) Liu transferred significant amount of monies from his personal account to China Merchant Bank at least eight times”.
The SEC, which has frozen the bank accounts of Liu and his wife concluded that “at least USD$3 868, 605 were sent from the defendants bank accounts to foreign accounts at China Merchant Bank and the Grenada Bank.”
Additionally, it was concluded that of the “USD27M collected from unwitting investors nearly 17M was moved out of the United States.”
Roberts said from the evidence presented by the SEC to the US court “it is clear that the activities by Mr. Charles Liu in Grenada and his associated companies are inextricably linked to the activities in the US.”
In light of the information emerging from the U.S court documents, the Congress official called on Mitchell administration in St. George’s to revoke Liu’s status as a Grenadian citizen, appointment as the Commercial attaché of the Grenadian embassy in China, as well as the Grenadian diplomatic passport handed to him and the licence granted to The United Damei Group to act as an international agent for the island’s passport selling scheme known as the CBI.
According to Roberts, this new development in the Charles Liu matter calls for action to be taken by government and failure to do so will “bring discredit to the image of our country and is demeaning to the office of Prime Minister. “
He called on the Mitchell government to “impose a freeze on all assets and accounts of Mr. Charles Liu, his wife, the United Damei Group and all related companies in Grenada”.
As a result of the new development coming out of the US District Court of Southern California, the NDC posed the following questions:
“Did the Prime Minister receive any benefits in cash or in kind on behalf of the Government of Grenada from Mr. Charles Liu, his wife or his company? Does the Prime Minister know whether or not his ministers of government or government colleagues have received any benefits in cash or kind from Mr Charles Liu, his wife or his company? We would like to know if the Prime Minister can state whether or not any public officer received any benefits in cash or kind from Mr. Charles Liu, his wife or his company?
“Can the Prime Minister state whether any members of his New National Party (NNP) has received any monies in cash or kind from Mr. Charles Liu, his wife or his company (or facilitated the receipt by any one in Grenada of any benefits in cash or kind from Mr. Charles Liu, his wife or his company?
“We would also like to know when the Prime Minister became aware of the alleged fraudulent activities of Mr. Charles Liu in the United States of America? Can the Prime Minister state the total assets of Mr. Liu, his wife and his company now holds in Grenada and the total assets that was brought into Grenada?
“And if any other persons received benefits in cash or kind from Mr. Charles Liu, his wife or his company, what is the Prime Minister recommending to be done and we would like to know if the Prime Minister has set a time limit for the revocation of Mr. Charles Liu’s status as a Grenadian citizen and diplomat and why does Mr. Charles Liu continue to represent Grenada as a commercial attaché to seek investors for projects in Grenada?