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Jerome García May 16, 2023 3 min read
Chinese Real Estate Giant Hit With $4M Fine in the US Over Bribery
The hefty fine comes amid accusations that Jose Huizar, a former Los Angeles City Councilmember, received lavish bribes that included private jet flights, trip to Las Vegas and hundreds of thousands of dollars of casino gambling
Shen Zhen New World I, the subsidiary of Shenzhen New World Group, a Chinese real estate firm owned by the billionaire Wei Huang, received a hefty fine last week as its name was tangled in a bribery case. The company sought to develop a 77-floor skyscraper in downtown Los Angeles at the site of the LA Grand.
Although it was never built, Shen Zhen New World’s name was tangled in a million-dollar bribery case that involved former City Councilmember Huizar. An investigation resulted in charges against Huang and uncovered the role of Huizar in the process.
Now, a report released by the Los Angeles Times, reveals that Shen Zhen New World I received a hefty $4 million fine for the bribes it paid to Huizar while trying to secure approval for the aforementioned downtown skyscraper project. On Friday, US District Judge John F. Walter expressed his concern about “the crushing weight of corruption,” upon imposing the sentence against the company.
“This is a serious offense which in my view requires a substantial sentence.“US District Judge John F. Walter
Before the sentencing, prosecutors spoke about the “culture of corruption” in Los Angeles and urged for a hefty fine that would seek to help “protect the public from further crimes,” by Shen Zhen New World I. “This five-year bribery scheme was brazen, devised and carried out with impunity by the sole owner and highest authority for the company — Chairman Huang — with the help of his employees and associates acting under his direction,” wrote the prosecutors at the time.
Lavish Bribes Included Private Jet Flights, Vegas Gambling
Although Huang is a Chinese citizen he used to regularly visit the US. But since he realized he was being investigated by the FBI, he hasn’t returned to the country. A few years ago, in 2020, Huang was charged with fraud and bribery. Currently, he is considered a fugitive.
In a bribery case dating to last year, witnesses claimed that Huang paid the former LA City Councilmember more than $1 million in the form of bribes. Those included luxury accommodation as well as private jet flights to Las Vegas. Huizar also allegedly spent hundreds of thousands of dollars provided by Huang for casino gambling, fine dining and even escort.
Back in January, Huizar pleaded guilty to tax evasion and racketeering. Overall, he admitted he received at least $1.5 million in the form of bribes from Huang, as well as other property developers. Huizar is yet to be sentenced.
Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.
Industry May 16, 2023