UNITE HERE: Report Calls on Chinese Authorities to Investigate Fantasia Holdings
Company connected to Zeng Qinghong relative had mutual partner with China Huarong
BOSTON–UNITE HERE, the North American hotel workers’ union, has released a report calling on Chinese authorities to investigate real estate company Fantasia Holdings.
The call comes in the context of an ongoing corruption investigation of Lai Xiaomin, former Chairman of China Huarong Asset Management. The report describes the interlocking relationship between Fantasia Holdings and HKBridge (formerly Topsearch International), and the latter’s multiple connections with Huarong and troubled metals company Ningxia Tianyuan Manganese Industry Group, which was reportedly integral to the conduct being investigated by the Chinese government.
“The more we investigated, the more it became clear to us that Fantasia Holdings and Lai Xiaomin’s Huarong had partners in common,” said UNITE HERE Deputy Director Jeff Nelson. “Because of the sensitivity of the government’s investigation, we believed it was necessary to compile what we know and send it to the anticorruption investigators.”
The report urges the Chinese government to thoroughly investigate the connections between Huarong and Fantasia, even though Fantasia has powerful political connections. Zeng Jie, controlling shareholder of Fantasia, is the niece of former Vice President of China Zeng Qinghong.
UNITE HERE’s findings are a result of ongoing due diligence of Marriott International. Both Huarong and Fantasia are controlling stakeholders in Marriott hotels, and Fantasia and Marriott predecessor company Starwood are signatories to a strategic alliance memorandum which announced a long-term partnership in hotel development, construction, and management.
“Western businesses like Marriott have a responsibility to partner with companies that exhibit the highest ethical standards. We hope an extension of the current investigation to include the Zeng Qinghong-connected Fantasia will establish whether corruption has occurred,” Nelson said.
The report is hosted for the public on a union website, Marriott China Observer (www.marriottchinaobserver.org), in English and Chinese. The report was sent to the China Securities Regulatory Commission, the National Supervisory Commission, and the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the United States.
About UNITE HERE
UNITE HERE represents 270,000 members working in the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, transportation, and airport industries in the U.S. and Canada including 17,000 employed by Marriott International. MarriottChinaObserver.org is maintained by the UNITE HERE Research Department.
Jeff Nelson, +1-617-480-2585