new developments in CNOOC insider trading case

Another $11m in SEC settlements related to insider trading ahead of CNOOC’s acquisition of Nexen in 2012, this time from two HK asset managers owned by, among others, a CITIC Group subsidiary and one Wang Junyan 王俊彥, and some of their clients. Mr Wang is the chairman of one of the companies agreeing to settle (China Shenghai 盛海 Investment Management Ltd), a JV partner (as per the Reuters story) in the other one and has sat in the boards of various HK-listed companies. He’s also an adjunct professor at the Business School of the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Previous settlements have included $14m with a firm controlled by shipbuilding magnate Zhang Zhirong 张志熔, then some $3m with a trader at GF Securities Hong Kong. Among the owners of accounts frozen in 2012 at the SEC’s request in connection with the Nexen deal were entities related to gold miner Zhaojin 招金 and Jun Yang Solar (君陽太陽能). Wang Junyan used to be a shareholder of the latter.

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aurora observatory ready by October: PRIC

The Polar Research Institute of China (the PRIC) announces a preliminary design for the main building of the Chinese-Icelandic aurora observatory near Akureyri is ready, and provides a (rather stylised) computer model. The whole thing is supposed to be ready by October.

The land for the observatory was secured last year by a foundation led by Reinhard Reynisson, famous for his proposal to use crocodiles for waste-disposal in the town of Húsavík he was the mayor of, and Halldór Jóhannsson, Huang Nubo’s spokesman in Iceland.

Huang Nubo to pay $200k for a bottle of wine

Huang Nubo, the Chinese poet-tycoon who has spent three years unsuccessfully trying to buy a certain plot of Icelandic land, has set his eyes on a more modest acquisition: a bottle of wine. He’s offering $200k, enough to buy just over 770 hectares in Grímsstaðir á Fjöllum. The wine in question, from 1653, is inside a barrel declared Unesco World Heritage in a cellar under the town hall in Bremen. Huang has recently started a ten-year world trip during which he intends to visit all Unesco heritage sites, and, apparently, ingest some of that heritage. Other than the cellarmaster and the mayor of Bremen, who enjoy the prerogative to sample the wine, only one person in recent memory is reported to have tasted it: Queen Elizabeth, and just a thimbleful at that.

Once he tries it, Huang might very well report about the wine in his poetry. His verses have already featured the word ‘Lafite’, or a quite close spelling of it, in the past, as I took the trouble to quote last year.

CNOOC gets Jan Mayen license in the end

Chinese oil major CNOOC has finally got an E&P license (expected already last October) in the Dreki area, the Icelandic sector of the waters south of the Norwegian island of Jan Mayen. CNOOC, through an Icelandic subsidiary, is to be the operator of the license, and to control a 60% share of it. They’re partnering with Norway’s state-owned Petoro AS, with a 25% share, and Eykon Energy, a local company.

I wrote about Dreki oil in some length in September (today’s announcement was ‘imminent’ back then), and more briefly in some recent updates.

Birubi resort “like a bomb site in Beirut”

That’s how the mayor of Port Stephens, New South Wales describes the site of Birubi Beach Resort, a $50m tourist development started in 2011 and stalled not much later over a dispute between the developer and its Chinese financer, the rather ominously named CSST (China Security and Surveillance Technology). The resort was supposed to be built with Chinese prefabricated units by the now-liquidated Quick Home Australia. Its Hong Kong parent is suing CSST. As its name suggests, CSST comes from a rather different sector, but has gone into real estate both in China and abroad, with mixed results (witness the Henderson, NV stadium debacle, or the health village in Iceland). (Mostly from the Port Stephens Examiner.)