Welcome!
2017-08-11 02:21:02
Who Owns Anbang of China? A U.S. Labor Union Wants to Know.

BEIJING — To the growing list of entities questioning the ownership of Anbang Insurance Group, the Chinese financial conglomerate, add one more: an American hotel union.

The union, Unite Here, said in a statement on Thursday that it had filed federal unfair labor practice charges against Anbang and three hotels it owns in the United States for failing to comply with its request for information on the company’s ownership and sources of financing.

The union — which represents more than 1,000 workers at Anbang’s Westin St. Francis hotel in San Francisco, the Loews Santa Monica hotel in California and the Fairmont Chicago hotel — had asked Anbang and its hotel operators for that information as well as for documents related to potential condominium conversions of hotels in May. It said the companies had not responded.

“By filing these federal charges, we’re asking the National Labor Relations Board to compel disclosure,” said Kurt Petersen, a co-president of Unite Here Local 11, a Los Angeles affiliate.

A spokesman for Anbang declined to comment.

Under United States labor laws, unions or employers can file charges against each other, which are subsequently investigated by American labor officials. Those officials could then file a formal complaint, though most charges do not result in one.

The charges add to Anbang’s mounting headaches. Its chairman, Wu Xiaohui, was detained in China in June. The company, which owns the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York and spent more than $6 billion for a collection of luxury hotels across the United States last year, is also under scrutiny for being among one of China’s “gray rhinos” – heavily indebted companies that could pose a threat to the Chinese economy.

Anbang, which until recent years was an obscure insurance conglomerate even in China, has made global headlines for its trophy buys and now claims to have almost $300 billion in assets. Over the past three years, it has chalked up about $12.7 billion in acquisitions.

But questions about Anbang’s ownership have plagued the company since last year, dealing a setback to its shopping spree for global assets. In June 2016, it withdrew its bid to buy the insurer Fidelity & Guaranty Life after failing to satisfy questions from a state regulator in the United States.

Last year, Anbang abandoned its attempt to buy Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide for $14 billion, citing market considerations.

Official data shows that Anbang is owned by an opaque web of largely interconnected companies. Many share phone numbers, email addresses and management, The New York Times reported last year.

Anbang has also become known for its negotiations with family members of President Trump. Mr. Wu — who married a granddaughter of Deng Xiaoping, China’s paramount leader in the 1980s — met Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, in November in a bid to buy a stake in a Manhattan office building partly owned by the Kushners. The deal was eventually abandoned after news reports questioned the potential conflict of interest for Mr. Kushner, whose portfolio includes diplomacy with China.