WSJ: “Liu Minghui’s battle to clear his name and save his business, a fight that pitted him against some of the most powerful forces in China, began the day of his company’s Christmas party in 2010.
Mr. Liu was set to leave his 18th-floor office in Shenzhen to cross the nearby border to Hong Kong for the party when plainclothes Public Security Bureau officers arrested him on suspicion of stealing money from the company he ran and co-founded, China Gas Holdings Ltd.
The former managing director spent nearly the next year in a Chinese jail, during which time he was forced to leave his executive and board roles at the company while remaining a substantial shareholder. He emerged from detention in time to see one of the country’s biggest companies launch a hostile offer for China Gas, the first by a state-owned business against a privately controlled company.
Now Mr. Liu’s comeback is nearly complete. He has been exonerated in the embezzlement case and is poised to win his fight with state-owned energy giant China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., or Sinopec, and its partner, ENN Energy Holdings Ltd. The bidding consortium on Monday extended the deadline for the US$2.15 billion offer until early September, saying the bid is still waiting regulatory approval. But with the stock trading at a 22% premium to the offer price of 3.50 Hong Kong dollars a share, the group seems unlikely to attract the shareholder support needed to take control.
The case highlights the harsh nature of business in China, where the legal system is opaque and the fate of companies can be decided in Beijing. It remains unclear why Mr. Liu was arrested and then cleared, why Sinopec bid for his company and why a surprising group of white knights came to Mr. Liu’s rescue.”
In the same issue of WSJ.com, this article shows the positive (though still opaque) side of Chinese criminal justice and another the opposite: http://chindia-alert.org/2012/08/07/chinese-criminal-procedure-at-its-worst/
- Beijing Enterprises Raises Stake in China Gas to 20.30% (blogs.wsj.com)
- China Gas Doesn’t Think ENN-Sinopec Takeover Bid Will Succeed (blogs.wsj.com)