Firm in Stur­geon China deal dis­solved

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - News - By Gareth Rose SCOT­TISH PO­LIT­I­CAL EDI­TOR

THE Chi­nese firm which signed a £10 bil­lion fund­ing deal with the Scot­tish Govern­ment has been dis­solved.

Ni­cola Stur­geon was left red-faced by the can­cel­la­tion of her me­moran­dum of un­der­stand­ing in­volv­ing the now-de­funct Si­noFor­tone Group.

The Govern­ment had hoped it would lead to a mas­sive pro­gramme of in­vest­ment in hous­ing, re­new­ables and other in­fra­struc­ture.

But the deal quickly fell apart af­ter it emerged the par­ent com­pany of the other fun­der, Chi­nese Rail­way No 3 En­gi­neer­ing Group (CR3), was black­listed in Nor­way over hu­man rights con­cerns. Now Miss Stur­geon faces fur­ther em­bar­rass­ment over the fate of Si­noFor­tone Group which, ac­cord­ing to Com­pa­nies House, was ‘dis­solved via com­pul­sory strike off’ last week, with all as­sets be­com­ing the prop­erty of the Crown.

That is hardly a wind­fall, as the group’s last ac­counts from July last year showed it com­prised ten shares worth £1 each.

Scot­tish Lib­eral Demo­crat leader Wil­lie Ren­nie said: ‘Min­is­ters and their of­fi­cials had eight dis­cus­sions with Si­noFor­tone and con­cluded it was a “se­ri­ous and cred­i­ble” com­pany. Now the firm Ni­cola Stur­geon claimed would bring £10 bil­lion of in­vest­ment has been struck off.

‘The SNP failed to check the com­pany’s hu­man rights, cor­rup­tion and in­vest­ment his­tory. They failed to make the deal pub­lic, and when it was ex­posed, at­tacked op­po­si­tion politi­cians for ask­ing ques­tions.’

Trade Min­is­ter Ivan Mc­Kee re­sponded: ‘As is well known, the Scot­tish Govern­ment has had no con­tact with Si­nofor­tone for some time.’

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