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globalnation / Philippines

Teco dissuades PH from accepting Taiwanese businessman’s proposed Investments

globalnation / Philippines
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Teco dissuades PH from accepting Taiwanese businessman’s proposed Investments

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE/INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

The Philippine trade department continues to conduct due diligence checks on a Taiwanese businessman who wants to pour in up to P18.4 trillion in investments in the Philippines.

But Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said his department’s information, so far, was that no criminal case had been filed against Chen You-hao, contrary to a report by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines (Teco).

Lopez said the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza), which had been in contact with Chen, informed him that Chen faced no criminal case in Taiwan. Teco had described Chen as “Taiwan’s most wanted economic criminal.”

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Teco, on Wednesday, issued a statement saying it had formally requested the Philippine government to reject the investment proposals of Chen, including one that would bring in P18.4 trillion.

The P18.4-trillion investment proposal of Chen would be bigger than the P8-trillion estimated cost of the Duterte administration’s ambitious six-year infrastructure program under the “Build, Build, Build” mantra.

Peza has yet to comment, but its head, Director General Charito Plaza said in July that Chen wanted to bring in two projects—the P18.4-trillion economic zone proposal in western Pangasinan and a P12-billion, 85-story building on Roxas Boulevard.

More checks

“We took note of Teco’s inputs,” said Lopez in a text message. “Our Peza management [is] doing more due diligence on reports about Mr. Chen,” he said.

But information gathered about Chen showed that he ran businesses in China like petrochemical facilities, hotels, malls and condominiums “and no cases against him,” Lopez said.

Asked if the information came before or after the Teco report, Lopez said he didn’t know.

According to Teco, Chen had been wanted in Taiwan since January 2014, when a court in Taiwan indicted him for fraud, embezzlement and other economic crimes.

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He was accused of defrauding investors of up to P1.3 billion.

Teco added that Chen fled to Xiamen in China’s Fujian province, leaving behind more than P700 million in tax arrears. He also allegedly defrauded Taiwanese banks and investors of P118 billion.

Flight to China

Chen took his money to Xiamen, where he founded Xianglu Dragon Group (XDG), which he represented when he proposed the projects to Peza.

Teco said XDG invested nearly P30 billion in Fujian’s PX Chemical Zone, which has now incurred a deficit of some P15 billion allegedly due to poor management.

Plaza said it was former Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. who introduced her to XDG. De Venecia, she said, convinced XDG to invest in the Philippines.

In response to Teco, XDG said in a statement that Chen was “a Chinese citizen who had been the subject of political persecution in Taiwan under the ruling DPP (Democratic Progressive Party)” after he withdrew support from the administration of jailed former Taiwanese President Chen Shui-ban.

Teco, on the other hand, insisted that Chen was an economic criminal.

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TAGS: Chen You-hao, Global Nation, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez
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