Probe of Chinese tycoon who donated mega-rehab facility ‘internal issue’ – Palace

June 28, 2017 - 1:02 PM
Huang Rulun, head of Century Golden Resources Group. (Reuters file)

MANILA, Philippines — The reported corruption investigation of billionaire Huang Rulun, whose offer to fund “mega drug rehabilitation centers” in the country has been credited by President Rodrigo Duterte for helping improve ties with China, is an “internal issue,” Malacañang said Wednesday.

But Communications Assistant Secretary Marie Banaag could not say if the government would continue accepting donations from Huang following the controversy.

The first mega rehab facility was inaugurated in Nueva Ecija province late last year and Duterte earlier said another one was in the works for Mindanao.

The probe on the rags-to-riches tycoon from Fujian province who spent five years in Manila’s Binondo district before returning home to found the Century Golden Resources Group was reported Financial Times reported citing an anti-corruption watchdog in Beijing.

A Reuters report on Huang and his relationship with Duterte late last year already mentioned Century Golden as one of 17 firms and individuals who made payments to Bai Enpei, the former Communist Party boss of southwestern Yunnan province, in return for favors, according to online court documents from a major corruption case in China earlier this year.

Huang, whose worth Forbes magazine placed at $3.6 billion, was not named in the documents himself although Reuters also noted that it was not immediately clear if Century Golden faces any further legal proceedings.

Despite this development, Banaag said the Philippines continues to stand beside the Chinese government in the fight against corruption, the eradication of which was one of Duterte’s central campaign promises.