Cambridge University: the Chinese government connection

   0   0 Blog, Corruption
Jiabao

Wen Jiabao at Cambridge, 2009

In March we wrote a post entitled Ukraine’s dirty money: the Cambridge University connection, which highlighted the fact that a Ukrainian oligarch who had showered money on Cambridge university to promote a “Cambridge Ukrainian Studies” department had just been arrested in Vienna on an international arrest warrant at the request of the FBI.

Now Cambridge University has been caught with its pants down (and trouser pockets open) again. A quote in Britain’s Telegraph newspaper  from an academic source  summarises the story:

“It would seem that a foreign government appointed a professor of politics at Cambridge.”

And who might this foreign government be? Well, the Telegraph story intro has more:

“A charity that gave £3.7 million to Cambridge University to endow a professorship for Chinese development studies is run by members of the family of the country’s former prime minister, Wen Jiabao, according to a well-placed source in Beijing.”

And this has a particular tax justice angle in that it involves those good old British vehicles for secrecy and obfuscation, offshore trusts.  The article continues:

“Cambridge has continued to deny that Chong Hua has links to the Chinese government and confirms only that it is registered to a trust in Bermuda. Bermuda law does not require details of a trust to be disclosed publicly and Chong Hua has no website or official listing anywhere in Britain or China. The Bermuda Monetary Authority said that “we do not supervise individual trusts”, adding that trusts were subject to international tax and money-laundering regulations.

Yeah right. If Bermuda doesn’t supervise Bermuda trusts, then who does?

A Cambridge spokesman said the donation was “fully verified and approved” but that the donors had requested complete anonymity.” But this case shows ever so clearly why that anonymity – which slipped on account of someone’s remark about some shareholdings – should simply not be permitted in such a case. As the academic continued:

“How, if the foundation’s money came from the family of the head of government of the People’s Republic of China for over a decade, and if the foundation was able to name the first occupant of the chair, can Cambridge demonstrate academic independence?”

A very good question indeed. One has to wonder whether Cambridge University has any more of these kinds of oligarchical skeletons hiding in its cloistered closets.

More irregularities concerning this donation – before the Wen Jiabao connection were known about – were raised by Al Jazeera in 2012.

What were they thinking?


Related Posts

Launch of international research collaboration, #AltAusterity

alt austerityToday is the launch of #AltAusterity, a new, international research collaboration of which Tax Justice Network is a partner.  The project aims to stimulate public debate on the subject of austerity though high quality research. It is a response to the lack of evidence which has underpinned the current policy agenda on austerity. The project […]

READ MORE →

RB tax avoidance – company calls for public country by country reporting after Oxfam report reveals profit shifting

pictureOxfam has today released a report on tax dodging by RB, the company formerly known as Reckitt Benckiser and the maker of thousands of well known household products. The report looks at the 2012 restructuring of the company which saw it set up ‘hubs’ in the Netherlands, Dubai and Singapore, all well known corporate tax […]

READ MORE →

Half measures mean Mauritius will continue to be a tax haven for the developing world

MauritiusThere was news this week that Mauritius has signed the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (MLI). This is an initiative from the OECD to allow countries to take measures designed to stop tax avoidance by multinational companies and put them into their existing network of […]

READ MORE →

G20: Pressure rising on tax haven USA

HamburgWhilst the eyes of the world focused on the isolation of the US from the ‘G19’ position on climate change, something remarkable played out elsewhere in the process. Following closely the common EU position that we highlighted a few days ago, the G20 communique devotes important space to tax justice. It’s so good we quote […]

READ MORE →

Will the G20 ever end the global problem of tax avoidance and tax evasion?

HamburgAhead of the G20 Summit in Hamburg this week our own George Turner has published this op-ed in the German newspaper Die Tageszeitung today. The article discusses why, despite sustained political engagement from world leaders, we are still some way from solving the problem of tax avoidance and tax evasion. Here’s an English translation of the article:

READ MORE →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top