Chinese ‘spy’ in million-dollar scam claims
The Chinese defector who claims to be a spy has had his assets temporarily frozen by the Supreme Court of NSW amid allegations he defrauded a Sydney businessman out of millions of dollars and falsified a property sale in Shanghai.
Wang Liqiang was billed by Nine's 60 Minutes as a Chinese spy defecting to Australia in a ''world exclusive'' that would upset the Chinese President Xi Jinping.
But now his story is unravelling as he faces a civil claim in the NSW Supreme Court that has already seen his assets temporarily frozen over allegations he swindled money from Xin ''Filip'' Shu - a permanent resident in Australia - by encouraging him to pour large sums of money into a luxury car importation company that, it would seem, he had nothing to do with.
According to Mr Shu's affidavit filed with the NSW Supreme Court, Mr Wang allegedly told Mr Shu his mansion in Shanghai would be the security for the investment but, in actual fact, he does not own that home, is alleged to have falsified its property documents, and was turned away from the front door by the gatekeeper.
In an exclusive interview with The Daily Telegraph, Mr Shu, who is a former staff member for Labor MP Matt Thistlethwaite and now works as a foreign and financial derivatives trader, claims he has been swindled by Mr Wang, who he accuses of owing him more than $3 million.
The case sheds fresh light on reasons why the Chinese national may want to defect to Australia.
Mr Shu's affidavit, provided to the Supreme Court of NSW, is supported with WeChat communications, emails and a video of Mr Wang and Mr Wang's wife Renyu Fang, holding an allegedly falsified property title.
"They asked me for help to borrow money and then they started to promote their business opportunities with me," Mr Shu said of the business to import cars from Germany to China for sale.
"At that time I trusted them and agreed to make the investment with them."
Mr Shu claims that after he committed to investing, he found out everything was fake.
"The house they claimed that they bought in Shanghai, the reason why they borrowed money from me in the first place, they never owned it.
"Then when I was expecting to get my money back they started to send me photoshopped bank transaction records.
"I have no idea what they did with the money."
Mr Shu said he believes Mr Wang's failure to repay the money to him, and the subsequent investigation by the Chinese police could be the reason why he and his wife are seeking asylum in Australia. "If he thinks that he is unable to repay me, then he may come up with wild ideas of applying for the visa and staying in Australia, in order to avoid the debt," he said.
In April last year, Mr Shu went to the Shanghai Public Security Bureau to report Mr Wang and his wife's conduct, and was informed that they were never owners of the Shanghai property and the document included in their video was not legitimate.
He made a report to the Shanghai Public Security Bureau which commenced a criminal case against them.
After Mr Wang claimed to be a spy, the Chinese government released a statement saying: "On April 19, 2019, the Shanghai police opened an investigation into Wang who allegedly cheated 4.6 million yuan (about $US654,339) from a person named Shu through a fake investment project involving car imports in February."
It added that Wang left for Hong Kong on April 10, carrying a fake Chinese passport and a fake permanent resident ID of Hong Kong.
In June 2019, Mr Wang and his wife told Mr Shu they were living in Australia but agreed to repay the money by entering into a Deed of Forbearance. They never did.
Australia's security and intelligence agencies have told the National Security Committee of Cabinet that they do not think Mr Wang is a high-level spy. At best, they say, he could be a bit-player on the espionage community fringes.
60 Minutes claimed Liqiang was a spy who had ordered a kidnapping and ran social media meddling in Taiwan elections.
Asked if he was put up to this by the Chinese government, Mr Shu said: "That's just not true."
Mr Xin also tried to report the case to the Australian police but was advised to seek repayment of the money first via a civil case in court as a first step.
Mr Xin, first met Mr Wang's wife, Renyu Fang, in 2013 through the Chinese Volunteer Australia organisation.
In his affidavit, he says she contacted him in September 2018, while he was on a business trip in China and asked him to lend her money for the settlement of a property in Shanghai, promising to repay the loan a week later.
His affidavit includes a video where Renyu and Mr Wang turn the pages of the certificate of title for their new Shanghai property.
A few days later, Mr Xin claims Renyu introduced him via WeChat to her husband, Mr Wang who said he had a profitable business transporting luxury cars from Germany to China for sale, what he called The Project.
"Liqiang stated to me that he guaranteed the Project would make RMB 26,000,000 and that nothing will go wrong," Mr Xin said.
"Liqiang stated to me that his and Renyu's property, namely the Shanghai Property, would be security for my payments and return on investment from the Project."
Mr Xin then entered into a written share trust Agreement with Mr Wang to invest even more money for 42.85 per cent of shares in a company that held the contract for the car importation business.
In return, he was entitled to 42 per cent of the profits of the business.
Mr Xin invested the additional money into Mr Wang's bank account in 14 different transactions between October 2018 and January 2019.
In late February 2019, Mr Xin said in his affidavit that he received a WeChat message from Mr Wang with an image of an "Account Application Transfer Form" showing 30,000,000 HKD going into his own bank account.
The message stated that Mr Wang was in the process of converting that sum into RMB which he would then transfer into Mr Xin's account.
This was confirmed by an image of what Mr Xin said appeared to be a text message from teh Bank of China confirming the transfer was in process.
Mr Wang then allegedly claimed that the money was frozen by the Chinese Government and had been returned to the original count.
But then Mr Wang said he needed more time to pay the outstanding money.
A month later, in March 2019, Mr Wang claimed via WeChat his boss would pay RMB 6,000,000 to Mr Xin, who received an email advising that this had happened. The money never went through.
Mr Xin only ever received 616,313.
In April, Mr Wang sent a remittance application, according to Mr Xin's affidavit, to show that his boss had transferred US 1,8000,000 to Mr Xin's account. But this money never appeared.
The three had a WeChat discussion where Mr Wang and his wife agreed to start looking for a buyer for their Shanghai property so they could repay the money to Mr Xin.
They met in the front of the Shanghai property on 9 April 2019 but were refused entry by the gatekeeper.
After this meeting, Mr Wang secured a potential buyer for the property but the couple went cold and did not answer his calls.