The shares of Beijing-based Soho China, a premier commercial development company, fell 11% this week after allegations surfaced in China that the company may be involved in money laundering associated with the sale of 41 Soho China properties to Gong Aiai, for approximately HK$1 billion.
Gong was arrested in China for allegedly using national identity cards and hukou to buy the properties. She was chief of Shenmu Rural Commercial Bank in Shaanxi Province. She was known as the “House Sister”.
Her case follows that of a number of other figures who acquired a large number of assets including Brother Watch, a civil servant with a large collection of luxury watches convicted of bribery and “Grandpa House”, a police chief in Guangdong Province who was accused of using fake identity cards to buy 192 homes.
President Xi promised to take down “tigers and flies” in his war on bribery. Bo Xilai, once one of China’s most powerful officials, was sentenced to life in prison for crimes that included bribe-taking and embezzlement.
Soho China is the largest property developer in China. The CEO of Soho China is 张欣, Zhang Xia, one of the most influential women in business in the world. She used to be a factory worker.