A group of 32 Chinese investors are suing Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Anthony Rodham, brother of failed presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, in a dispute over their investment in electric car manufacturer GreenTech Automotive.
Each of the investors put over $500,000 into the firm in the hopes of gaining EB-5 visas for them and their families. These controversial “golden visas” allow foreigners who invest in certain U.S. projects to get legal status by virtue of their investment.
The complaint, filed last week in Fairfax County, Virginia, alleges Greentech is a “scam” in which McAuliffe and Rodham traveled through China to find investors, playing up that their political influence could ensure visas for the investors. It further alleges GreenTech produces only small electric cars that go under 25 miles per hour, and that it “has manufactured very few cars, sold no cars, and is rumored to be on the verge of bankruptcy.”
GreenTech’s own website claims the company was founded in 2009 by Xiaolin “Charles” Wang, a lawyer who, according to a report by free-market non-profit Cause of Action, is a surrogate of Chinese businessman Yung “Benjamin” Yeung. Through a complex series of corporate groupings, Wang made a $50,000 donation to McAuliffe’s 2009 gubernatorial campaign, according to the same report.
In 2009, McAuliffe became chairman of GreenTech and, along with Rodham, solicited investors in China. The suit is claiming the pair then promised to use political connections in the United States to help secure EB-5 visas for those investors while defrauding them as to the financial situation of GreenTech itself.