Chinese real estate mogul has $1.1B payday

A Chinese real estate mogul who helped make his name thanks to what the country’s media describes as a “purported” value-over-honest business practice, has reportedly raked in nearly $1.1 billion in a few weeks while people are still clamoring for cash from the government.

Property tycoon Wang Jianlin, 54, chief executive of the $78 billion real estate giant Evergrande Real Estate Group, reportedly cut his mansion down to a nub after the Chinese government lifted controls on home purchases this month.

Chinese state-owned media outlets like the Xinhua News Agency even described how he bought a piece of a 20-year old gold mine, at an undisclosed price, to take advantage of the historic price run-up to sell to investors.

“It was a golden gift to the netizens after the sunshine period!” said Zhu Siying, a 45-year-old property agent from Nanjing, referring to the past few weeks when the Chinese stock market hit some of its highest levels in history.

The news has drawn comparisons to that of Julian Mnuchin, U.S. Treasury Secretary, who’s reportedly raked in a reported $150 million from properties he owns in the U.S.

“Although it would be impossible to find a basis for both this case and Mnuchin’s, it is likely that these two do have something in common,” Benny Chen of Changjiang Securities told Bloomberg in an email.

Wang’s company has been under scrutiny since Oct. 9, when investment banks hired by Goldman Sachs quit his company’s board after Evergrande failed to fulfill a pledge to return $200 million in exchange for its cooperation in a rare default of a Chinese company’s debt, Bloomberg reported.

Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission is also investigating the company, which has faced a series of debt defaults in recent years. Evergrande has gone on record saying it’s considering selling off portions of its property portfolio.

“We are looking for the right time to be the perfect seller, the perfect buyer,” a securities official with mainland credibility who was quoted in the Los Angeles Times reported last October. “But things are fluid now.”

Meanwhile, the Sydney Morning Herald reported on Monday that Wang reportedly parked about $200 million overseas ahead of the Chinese stock market collapse last spring, and used about $200 million to bail out his casino business in Macau during a downturn that eventually claimed 16 billionaires there.

According to the Australian, Wang “plucked” more than $70 million from his bank account and put it in Hong Kong Sailing Club Inc., an investment company that includes 14 other offshore companies whose directors are all his.

His partners included Macau casino operator Kwan Chow Limited.

“If you are ‘Great White Shark’ then even a single true-blue dragon will catch you,” Wang told the Herald in an email.

The company is used as collateral for a $115 million loan, and Wang intends to pay it back from the resale of assets. The Herald, however, described Macau gambling as “the most heavily policed sector of the Chinese economy.”

“The QVZ offers Chinese-licensed professionals, investors and tourist a convenient, safe way to educate, enjoy and do business in Macau and enjoy the allure of the multibillion dollar casinos,” it said.

As for the coal mine, the company said on its website that Wang and his family only owned small chunks and refused to provide details of the sale. But, “when the liquidation process is complete, the whole process will become completely transparent.”

He has vowed to replenish losses suffered during the downturn in Macau, the world’s largest gambling market by revenue, along with his country’s first reverse IPO, a successful stock offering under foreign rules.

Another central banker is also pocketing large sums to pay for his family, including luxury cars.

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