Chinese tax agency investigates top developer
BEIJING (AP) – The Chinese government said on Friday it was investigating a possible tax evasion of a subsidiary of leading real estate developer SOHO China Ltd., the target of an aborted takeover attempt by Blackstone Group this year.
The announcement comes amid a wave of anti-monopoly actions and other enforcement measures against the internet and other private companies as the ruling Communist Party tightens control over the economy.
The Beijing Municipal Tax Bureau said in a one-sentence statement that the investigation was triggered by a report of possible tax evasion by the Beijing Jianhua Land Co. It gave no details.
The usually secret Chinese government has increasingly announced investigations of prominent companies and personalities without waiting for the outcome as it ramps up enforcement of tax and other laws and pressure entrepreneurs to they align their activities with the development plans of the ruling party.
Blackstone filed a $ 3 billion offer in September to buy most of SOHO China, known for its futuristic-looking office buildings and malls in Beijing and Shanghai. Blackstone cited “the lack of sufficient progress” from Chinese regulators when reviewing the deal announced in June.
SOHO China, founded in 1995, is controlled by Zhang Xin, one of China’s best-known businesswomen, and her husband, Pan Shiyi.
The company claims to have built 54 million square feet (5 million square meters) of projects.