Chi­nese-owned Bordeaux es­tates un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion

Decanter - - A MONTH IN WINE -

France’s Cen­tral Of­fice for the Re­pres­sion of Ma­jor Fi­nan­cial Crime (OCRGDF) has frozen own­er­ship of 10 vine­yards and châteaux in Bordeaux.

It is un­der­stood that all es­tates in­volved be­long to China’s Haichang Group, al­though Bordeaux’s or­gan­ised crime de­part­ment DIPJ would not con­firm the names of the es­tates seized.

Day-to-day busi­ness at the prop­er­ties has con­tin­ued as nor­mal and their wines were not part of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, a DIPJ spokesper­son said.

A 2014 re­port by China’s Na­tional Au­dit Of­fice ac­cused Haichang Hold­ings Ltd of mis­spending $43m in pub­lic funds, though no for­mal charges were known to have been brought against the firm.

‘ We are al­ways very happy when Chi­nese buy­ers come to Bordeaux and when they buy châteaux,’ said CIVB’s Christophe Chateau. ‘ It raises the im­age of Bordeaux in China.

‘ But, if the money is not clean, then the two gov­ern­ments, Chi­nese and French, need to in­ves­ti­gate. I have never, in my time in Bordeaux, heard of any­thing like this hap­pen­ing be­fore.’

The French po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion is set to be brought be­fore a judge and a de­ci­sion on the con­fis­cated es­tates is ex­pected to be made in the com­ing months.

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