An entrepreneur who fled China into exile in the US after he was accused of corruption and threatened with arrest, is suing the Liaoning provincial government for the return of US$690m of shares that he claimed were taken from him illegally.
In the middle of last year Yang Rong was removed as chairman of Brilliance China Automotive (BCA), a car and finance company listed in New York and Hong Kong. Yang's 39 per cent stake in BCA was acquired by the government at a fraction of its value after he was accused of unspecified 'economic crimes'. He now claims that he fell out with the local government only because he wanted to invest outside the province, reported the Financial Times.
A key issue in the case is likely to be whether the Liaoning government can claim sovereign immunity or whether it effectively acted as a private player in the market. The action may also focus on the legal status of the trust agreement by which Yang originally came to own his 39 per cent stake at the time of BCA's 1992 listing in New York.