Businessman Hailed for Buying Imaginary Bank

Lin Chunping, a businessman from Zhejiang, Wenzhou became a hot topic in January when state media reported that he had taken over Delaware-based Atlantic Bank without checking its sources. AP reporter Didi Tang reports, in the context of many other fake products in China and the persuasive effect of foreign brands:

The unprecedented acquisition brought him praise: His hometown gave him a prestigious political appointment and state media called his business experience “legendary.”

[…] Chinese reporters could not locate an Atlantic Bank or a bank registration by Lin in Delaware. He’s under arrest for an unrelated fraud and has been forced to give up his municipal-level appointment to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the government’s top advisory body.

Lin claimed that the bank had been run by Jews in order to increase its prestige. He also renamed the bank USA New HSBC Federation Consortium Inc., borrowing from the London-based global banking giant HSBC Holdings. The extent of Lin Chunping’s fraud amazed spectators:

“People were shocked that an obscure businessman bought a foreign bank and it was a U.S. bank nonetheless. He wasn’t even a banker to begin with,” said Zhu Xiaochuan, a researcher on China’s financial law at CEIBS Lujiazui Institute of International Finance in Shanghai. “The news must be credible because it was in mainstream media. The public were amazed how wealthy Wenzhou businessmen were.”

This event damaged the state media’s credibility. According to the AP report, Lin once was also profiled by the ruling Communist Party’s newspaper People’s Daily. The profile depicts Lin as sharp and hardworking, “selling buttons as a teenager, then purchasing a copper and gold mine in Ghana and investing in the rice business in China.”

Lin is also accused of faking fapiaos, a special kind of tax receipt that also functions as a bill and state lottery ticket.

See also ‘Fake takeover: Chinese businessman made up purchase of U.S. bank‘, at The Los Angeles Times.

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