Boris Johnson accused of involvement in “semi-corrupt” £1bn deal with Chinese firm

Boris Johnson has ordered an inquiry into a deal he signed with a Chinese firm to redevelop the historic Royal Albert Dock in London.

The Mayor of London is accused of having a cosy relationship with Chinese development company ABP which won the bid to develop the 35-acre publicly owned site, a Channel 4 News investigation has found.

An advisor to ABP has donated thousands of pounds to the Conservative Party, while a former head of London & Partners, which Johnson set up to attract foreign investment to London, moved to ABP while the tendering process was going on.

Taxpayer-funded London & Partners also pays 30% of the rent of some of ABP’s office space, the investigation found.

Sir Alistair Graham, a former chairman of the government’s Committee on Standards in Public Life told Channel 4 News: “It has the smell of a semi-corrupt arrangement, doesn’t it?”

“If, in fact, somebody is going through a sham process to ensure that someone they want to be successful in the process, but it’s not a level playing field for UK companies, and there have been some financial transactions of an intimate nature then that smells to me of a semi corrupt arrangement.”

However, Johnson had said the tendering process was fair, telling Channel 4 News: “The proposal to develop it and create a new business park seems to us to be very positive and I think it will be a very great thing for London. It will represent a significant investment in the city. It will drive jobs, drive employment, enable us to get homes built, because when you get jobs, you can get homes going.”

London & Partners chief executive Gordon Innes said: ​​”We believe that Channel 4 has not fairly represented London & Partners in its report tonight nor accurately reflected the statement we provided to the programme in its coverage in a balanced way.

“London& Partners was not a part of the decision making process nor sought to influence which company would be awarded the contract for the Royal Albert Dock.”

ABP is also accused of human rights breaches in China after people were allegedly forcibly evicted from property and their homes bulldozed with all their possesions inside. See more of Channel 4’s investigation.

What do you think of the deal? Tell us on our Facebook page or in the comments below.


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Readers' comments (2)

  • So Boris Johnson uses taxpayer funds to set up an agency to attract foreign investment in the UK, which then shares an office with a Chinese firm with a terrible human rights record.

    A senior manager from the taxpayer funded body then leaves to join the Chinese firm.

    The Chinese firm's adviser, who is married to a Home Office minister, gives regular donations to the Tory party.

    Boris then awards the contract to the Chinese firm over and above several British firms who could have done the work, having failed to do any due diligence about their working practices or human rights record.

    The contributions to the Tories from the Chinese firm's advisor then stop.

    What's wrong with that? All sounds absolutely squeaky clean and above board to me.

    Let's make this fine, upstanding champion of British business our next Prime Minister!

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  • This shows the standard of politations we elected. If David Cambron wants a better deal for Britain then why do we not buy British, the only thing comming out of this deal is the Chinease company and the Tories get Fat of every body else back.
    I dont want my tax to pay for the chinese govement, freebe when they have a down troden people.
    There is a stink in this deal, well done chanel 4
    N. Matthews MIEE MICE PhD

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