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

New estimates reveal the extent of tax avoidance by multinationals

Price Waterhouse CoopersNew figures published today by the Tax Justice Network provide a country-level breakdown of the estimated tax losses to profit shifting by multinational companies. Applying a methodology developed by researchers at the International Monetary Fund to an improved dataset, the results indicate global losses of around $500 billion a year. The figures appear in a […]

READ MORE →

Banking Secrecy in China, its related territories and Taiwan

Hong Kong from Sky 100Foreword. The Tax Justice Network is a non partisan network of experts working towards transparency, so we do not take any position about countries’ territorial and political claims. However, we do expect countries with a de jure (legal) or de facto (in practice) influence over other territories, to take responsibility for their power. We point […]

READ MORE →

Is tax avoidance at the heart of Ireland’s economic miracle?

AIB International Finance Centre Dublin - By Estoy Aquí (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsComing out of the economic crisis Ireland was one of the best performing economies, with GDP growth rates of 8.5% in 2014 and an extraordinary 26.3% in 2015. But how much of this economic activity was real, and how much a fiction created by Ireland’s tax haven status? A new paper by Heike Joebges of the University […]

READ MORE →

New Report: HMRC’s “Building our Future” programme

bigben-mcbigbenfaceYesterday the Tax Justice Network was in the UK Parliament to launch a report it co-produced with the Public and Commercial Services Union. The report, entitled “HMRC, Building an Uncertain Future” is a study of HMRC’s (the UK tax authority) reform plans which it is calling “Building our Future”. The report published yesterday analysed the […]

READ MORE →

Financial secrecy in football: time for action

bigben-mcbigbenfaceEveryone has known for years that football is rotten to the core and financial secrecy is at the heart of the problem. Why then is no one doing anything about it? This post from the Offshore Game project originally features in the Independent. 

READ MORE →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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

Back to Top