Court refuses injunction request from Chinese hotel investor
Posted on 8th December 2021 at 21:54
Plaintiff sought to prevent firm from dissipating assets below level of his investment
The High Court has refused to grant an injunction that would restrain a company and its director from dissipating its assets below the €500,000 sum invested in it by a Chinese businessman as part of the State’s Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP).
The investment was in two hotels in the south of Ireland.
Mr Justice Senan Allen said the evidence before the court fell “far short” of the threshold required for the granting of a Mareva order, which would prevent the dissipation or removal from the State company assets below the amount invested.
The judge said the plaintiff, Diankai Wang, with an address in the Yuhong District, Shenyang City, Liaoning Province, China, had a “perfectly understandable” concern for his investment, but he had not established any immediate intention on the part of the respondents to dissipate the assets concerned.
Mr Wang’s application was moved on an ex-parte basis, meaning only he was represented in court, and the judge did not grant any of the various reliefs sought against the respondents: Bo Vision Holding Company Limited, with an address at Exchange Place, IFSC, Dublin 1; its director and company secretary, Colm Wu, also known as Guo Quan Wu and Guo Qing Wu, with an address at Priory Gardens, Stillorgan, Co Dublin; and company secretaries since the summer of this year, Brendan Liddy and Xin Wen.
Lawyers for Mr Wang alleged there had been an “egregious breach of contract” by Bo Vision, in which the businessman had invested €500,000 in 2017 as part of the Department of Justice’s IIP.
The IIP established by the Government in 2012 allows non-European Economic Area citizens with a net worth of at least €2 million to invest in Irish companies in exchange for residency rights for the investor and his or her family. The applicant is also entitled to the return of their investment monies after a designated period of not less than three years.
Mr Wang’s investment was to be used to renovate and refurbish the Skellig Star Hotel (now known as the Watermarque Hotel) in Cahirciveen, Co Kerry, and The Grand Hotel in Tramore, Co Waterford, the court heard. It was claimed the investment was secured by Bo Vision, with an alleged agreement that Mr Wang and other IIP investors would be given first legal charge over the hotels. This security was alleged to have been at risk.
Counsel said the Skellig Star Hotel was sold in March 2021, and Mr Wang unsuccessfully attempted to find out where the proceeds of the alleged sale are located.
The judge said the only basis for the making of various disclosure orders ex-parte appeared to be that the respondents failed to reply to correspondence. He said it seemed the plaintiff’s investment has been “in the ether” since 2018, and he has delayed for years in seeking the orders he now wanted.
The application was dismissed in its entirety, but the judge said this did not preclude the bringing of a fresh application, on notice to the respondents, at a future date.
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