Jon Griffin, Birmingham Post, 16th September, 2009
The Phoenix Four have hit back at the “salacious tittle-tattle” exposed by the MG Rover inquiry after Chinese businesswoman Qu Li emerged as a potential buyer for LDV.
Dr. Qu Li
The ex-Longbridge bosses issued a new statement attacking the “lack of business understanding” in the report following claims the former lover of ex-Longbridge Director Nick Stephenson was in the frame for LDV.
Sources described Dr. Li as “probably the most influential Chinese business person in the UK with contacts in very high places” – and suggested she could move the van-maker to Longbridge if the takeover succeeds.
A Phoenix Four spokesman said: “It’s interesting the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ Inspectors were totally dismissive of Dr. Li, implying she was little more than an interpreter. What they failed to establish after four years and £18 million was that she was and is one of the most influential Chinese business people in the UK with contacts in very high places, and was worth every penny.
“This passed the DBIS’ Inspectors by, and is symptomatic of the wholesale lack of business understanding shot through the entire flawed report. All they were interested in – urged on by the Government – was salacious tittle-tattle and unjustified innuendo which brought the report down to the level of the tabloid press.”
Dr. Li has very well-established contacts with Nanjing and SAIC. Instead of moving the LDV kit 10,000 miles to China, wouldn’t it make far more sense to move it 10 miles to Longbridge?” A well-placed source
Dr. Li’s China Ventures operation is said to be the only bidder now left in exclusive talks with LDV Administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers following suggestions that Malaysian group Weststar has finally walked away. Last week’s long awaited Longbridge inquiry report revealed that Dr. Li was paid £1.7 million for consultancy work with MG Rover over a 15-month period. Dr. Li, whose affair with Nick Stephenson was exposed in the report, refused to deny the LDV claim.
Some industry experts have said that a takeover by China Ventures could spell the end for van-making in Birmingham, with a “lift and shift” operation to China ruining hopes of a resumption of production at Washwood Heath. However, a well-placed source said: “Dr. Li has very well-established contacts with Nanjing and SAIC. Instead of moving the LDV kit 10,000 miles to China, wouldn’t it make far more sense to move it 10 miles to Longbridge?”
[Source: Birmingham Post]
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