Macau Foundation (FM) President Wu Zhiliang said that local businessman Liu Chak Wan, who is a member of the foundation’s council of trustees, did not make a profit from a deal in which Liu sold a palatial mansion – “Palacio Sommer” – in Lisbon to the foundation.
The mansion, built in the early 20th century, was named after a wealthy Portuguese family of German descent, surnamed Sommer (“summer”).
Wu made the remarks while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a ceremony to kick off the Sands China International Strategic Leadership Programme for Integrated Resorts, at Sands Cotai Central.
The Portuguese-language channel of government-owned broadcaster TDM reported late last month that the public Macau Foundation has bought the mansion in Lisbon from Liu for 70 million patacas.
The day after the report was aired, the foundation said in a statement that Liu bought the mansion on behalf of the foundation, initially in his own name, before selling it the foundation.
According to the FM statement, Liu bought the historic edifice in the Portuguese capital for 64.9 million patacas in October 2014, several months after he had been asked by the foundation’s Investment Consultative Group, of which he is a member, to “follow up” on the possible acquisition of the mansion.
The FM statement said that the foundation at that time wanted to take advantage of the properly crisis in Portugal to buy new premises for the Economic and Trade Delegation of Macau in Lisbon – Macau’s permanent representative office in Portugal.
According to the FM statement, at the request of the foundation, the office had selected the three-storey mansion in March 2014 as the most suitable property for its new headquarters.
The FM statement said that the transfer of property from Liu to the foundation took place in September 2015 for 64.9 million patacas, plus almost seven million patacas for a range of additional costs such as taxes, utility bills, property assessment fees and other expenditures, resulting in a total acquisition cost of 71.9 million patacas.
After receiving in December 2014 a report from a Portuguese property agency which valued the mansion at about 89 million patacas, the group proposed in January 2015 that the foundation buy the property from Liu, the FM statement said.
Acording to the Macau Post Daily, Wu said that after Liu bought the mansion, Liu told the foundation that if the foundation considered the mansion unsuitable and decided not to buy it from him, the foundation would not need to bear any responsibility.
Wu also said that Liu did not gain any profit from the property deal, adding that Liu possibly even lost money in the deal. Concerning the amount of the possible loss, Wu said that only Liu knew the answer.
Wu stressed that the system according to which his foundation makes decisions on property investments is “rigorous”. He also said that anyone involved in the foundation’s investment decision process is not allowed to benefit from the related investment, either directly or indirectly.