A bull mar­ket in a China shop

Stock ma­nip­u­la­tions, scam eco­nomics at heart of shady fi­nan­cial doc­u­men­tary

Regina Leader-Post - - YOU - CHRIS KNIGHT ck­night@post­media.com twit­ter.com/chrisknight­film

By the mid­point of this new­est eco­nomic-malfea­sance doc­u­men­tary, you may be pre­pared to put your money into mat­tresses — lit­er­ally.

“There are no good guys in this story — in­clud­ing me,” says Dan David, co-founder of GEO In­vest­ing and the near­est thing to a white knight in di­rec­tor Jed Roth­stein’s The China Hus­tle.

David, like a lot of fi­nan­cial types, was bullish on China after the 2008 fi­nan­cial melt­down; it seemed the only place with real growth po­ten­tial.

Un­for­tu­nately, the closer he looked at the stock be­ing pushed by such in­vest­ment houses as ROTH and Rod­man & Ren­shaw, the more he saw com­pa­nies that were over­val­ued and un­der­per­form­ing.

The sleuthing is fas­ci­nat­ing to watch. In one in­stance, sur­veil­lance of a sup­posed pow­er­house called China Green Agri­cul­ture showed very lit­tle traf­fic in and out of its head of­fice.

When a de­tec­tive pos­ing as a tea sales­man asked the guy at the front gate if he could leave some free sam­ples, he was told there were about 40 em­ploy­ees and a sin­gle driver, nowhere near the num­bers you’d need to do the mil­lions in busi­ness it was claim­ing.

It’s ul­ti­mately a bit de­press­ing, even in­fu­ri­at­ing; in spite of David’s whis­tle-blow­ing, ad­vo­cacy and even a trip to Washington, the scams con­tinue.

De­funct Chi­nese com­pa­nies “re­verse merge” with U.S. shell cor­po­ra­tions, wind­ing up on

U.S. stock ex­changes with lit­tle to show for it, and no one do­ing due dili­gence. Crocker Coul­son, a stock pro­moter who pushed China Green Agri­cul­ture, talks it up and calls it “a fer­til­izer story.” That’s one way to de­scribe it.

MAG­NO­LIA PIC­TURES

Dan David stars in The China Hus­tle, an off-white knight in a doc­u­men­tary about eco­nomic shams and malfea­sance.

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