Chinese ‘golden visas’ Portugal investigates scam worth 366 million patacas

According to several media sources in Portugal, the country’s Public Prosecutor is investigating an alleged scam regarding investments made by Chinese nationals with the purpose of obtaining “golden visas” that permit residence in the Atlantic-facing European nation.

In the alleged scam, Chinese investors put their money into a wholesale Chinese commercial center located in Benavente, named POAO Center. The center was said to involve the CEO of Estoril-Sol SA, Choi Man Hin, an important associate of local gambling tycoon Stanley Ho in Portugal and president of the Luso-Chinese Association of Commerce and Industry, based in the European country.

According to the reports in Portuguese media, several Chinese investors who claim to be victims of fraud have brought up the case. Among them are Jin Wenjun and her husband, Cai Wei, as well as Xiaochen Jia and her mother, Yawei Zhang.
Jin is quoted in the newspaper Público saying that they had invested repeatedly in the business between 2014 and 2017. Representing about 50 Chinese families, they had deposited 500,000 euros each (about MOP4.6 million) for a total amount surpassing 20 million euros (MOP183 million).
According to the same media source, most complaints concerned the fact that the pre-sales contracts signed turned out to be from different properties from the ones contracted.

Jin also noted incongruences between the Portuguese and Chinese versions of the contracts. In the Portuguese version, the contracts refer to “warehouse” while the Chinese version reads “shop.” Jin said he would never have any interest in acquiring a warehouse. RM

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