Date
20 November 2017
Chen Guangbiao is shown in one of his eccentric stunts. Chen is denying claims he profited from the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Photo: Beijing News
Chen Guangbiao is shown in one of his eccentric stunts. Chen is denying claims he profited from the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Photo: Beijing News

Flamboyant businessman parries earthquake profiteering claims

Chen Guangbiao, the flamboyant Chinese businessman who famously fed New York’s homeless to change their impression of rich people like him, is trying to fend off accusations he profited from the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.

The alleged profit went to Jiangsu Huangpu Renewable Resources Utilization Co. Ltd., a private recycling company controlled by Chen, according to Chongqing Youth Daily.

The company recycled one million tons of steel from damaged buildings and pocketed 2 billion yuan (US$330 million) in profit.

Chen said he and his team worked for 43 days for the government free of charge during reconstruction after the earthquake and spent 20 million yuan of his own money, Beijing News reported Wednesday.

He denied any involvement in steel recycling, saying the government did not allow private companies to undertake the job.

Also, he dismissed claims his company has suffered heavy losses, including almost 17 million yuan in 2009 alone.

“They are wrong. I have donated more than 100 million yuan since 2004. If my company was suffering losses, how would I do that?”

He said he has about 5 billion yuan of assets.

Meanwhile, a company employee said Chen had kept a low profile in China after reports surfaced about his alleged earthquake profiteering, according to Chongqing Youth Daily.

In June, Chen spent US$1 million to advertise his plan to host a lunch for New York’s homeless people in Central Park. He coughed up an undetermined amount for the party itself.

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