Discussion » Current Events » China tycoon to buy part of Iceland: FT

  • Checkered
    Checkered wrote:
    <p><strong>Saw it on Yahoo news. No comment personally.</strong></p> <p>A Chinese tycoon wants to buy a huge tract of land in Iceland for a $100 million (70 million euro) eco-tourism project that will include a golf course, the Financial Times said Tuesday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Huang Nubo, a real estate investor and former government official, has sealed a provisional deal to acquire 300 square kilometres (about 200 square miles) of Icelandic territory, the newspaper said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However Iceland's interior minister stressed that, under Icelandic law such a sale of land, part of which is owned by the state, to a foreign entity would be illegal.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For it to become possible a special exemption from the law would be required, minister Ogmundur Jonasson said in Reykjavik.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>That would require, as a first step, a letter to the ministry and "we haven't received such a letter," he added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"It doesn't get sold just because there is a high offer," he added, without putting a price on the land.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"It hasn't gone unnoticed by anybody that the Chinese are buying up land in the four corners of the world," he said, while insisting that ethnicity was not the issue.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Iceland occupies a strategically important location between Europe and North America and has been touted as a potential hub for Asian cargo should climate change open Arctic waters to shipping.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Forbes ranked Huang as China?s 161st richest man in 2010, with a net worth of $890 million. His company, Zhongkun Group, owns resorts and tourist facilities across China and around the world.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A spokeswoman for Zhongkun Group in Beijing refused to comment on the reported deal when contacted by AFP, but said Huang would hold a press conference in the capital on Friday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Financial Times said Huang had previously worked at China?s Central Propaganda Department and the Ministry of Construction.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Iceland Review Online reported last week that Huang signed a deal with land owners including the Icelandic government last Wednesday, and that the deal was dependent on approval by both China and Iceland.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Iceland's booming economy collapsed in 2008 when its hugely overstretched banking sector plunged suddenly into crisis and its three major banks collapsed within a matter of weeks.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Since then, the country has gone through much soul-searching and a string of painful changes to put its house in order, helped by an International Monetary Fund rescue.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On Friday last week, the IMF approved the final release of funds in its $2.25 billion bailout programme for Iceland.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

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