Family of Chinese PM owns hidden fortune: report

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Oct 26 2012 10:57 AM | Updated as of Oct 27 2012 08:36 AM

NEW YORK - The relatives of China's prime minister have controlled assets worth at least $2.7 billion, the New York Times said Thursday in a report likely to further embarrass the Communist Party ahead of its power handover.

The family of Wen Jiabao, who will be replaced in a once-in-a-decade leadership transition next month, have become "extraordinarily wealthy" during his term in office, the newspaper alleged.

Their investments span banks, jewellers, tourist resorts, telecommunications companies and infrastructure projects, with the owners of the assets often concealed by using offshore vehicles or complicated holding structures.

The investigation, based on corporate and regulatory records from 1992 to 2012, compiled alleged dealings by Wen's son, daughter, younger brother and brother-in-law, as well as his mother.

It gave no figure for the family's net worth, but calculated the value of the assets they controlled over this period.

The lead up to the Communist Party's 18th congress starting on November 8, when successors to Wen and President Hu Jintao will be revealed, has already been tarnished by the case of rising star Bo Xilai.

The party boss from the huge southwestern city of Chongqing was expelled and will go on trial over corruption accusations and alleged crimes linked to the murder of a British businessman, for which his wife has been convicted.

In June financial news agency Bloomberg revealed an investigation into the man tipped to be the next Chinese president, Xi Jinping, which alleged his relatives had also built up a giant portfolio of investments in property and stocks.

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