Chinese-owned Bordeaux estates under investigation
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.