The Real Deal New York

GM Building minority owner Soho China battles exiled Chinese billionaire in NYC

Megadeveloper filed a defamation suit against Guo Wengui over corruption allegations
June 07, 2017 10:35AM

From left: Soho China’s Executive Director and Chairman Pan Shiyi, the GM Building (credit: Getty Images) and Businessman Guo Wengui

After being accused of political and business corruption, Soho China — China’s largest office developer and a partial owner of the General Motors Building — is waging war against an exiled Chinese billionaire in New York.

The company filed a defamation suit against Guo Wengui in New York, where Guo lives in a $67.5 million apartment at the Sherry-Netherland. The suit was disclosed by Soho China chairman Pan Shiyi on his blog Friday, the South China Morning Post reported.

Guo — who is also known as Miles Kwok — has claimed he has evidence of political and business corruption in China, and alleged last month that Pan and other Beijing developers rigged bids for land near China’s National Stadium in 2006. He also raised questions about Soho China’s ownership.

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At the time of Guo’s allegations, Pan dismissed the statements as rumors: “It’s nonsense. Soho China is a Hong Kong-listed company with a clear ownership structure. Everybody can check it out,” he said. Pan and his wife Zhang Xin founded Soho China in 1995.

But Guo has goaded Pan, calling on the Soho China exec to sue him in the U.S.

Since the filing, Guo has called the suit “good news,” and urged Pan to release documents related to Beijing projects.

Meanwhile, Guo’s wife and daughter were said to be traveling to New York to persuade him to return to China. Guo, who left China in 2014, confirmed that he was reunited with them. Interpol has issued a red notice for Guo, which is a request to locate and arrest someone pending extradition.

Soho China and the family of Brazilian banking magnate Moise Safra paid $1.4 billion for a 40 percent stake in the GM building in 2013. In April, majority owner Boston Properties landed a $2.3 billion loan to refinance the 1.8-million-square-foot office tower. [SCMP]E.B. Solomont