Wen Family Sues New York Times for Under-reporting Hidden Wealth
BEIJING — Through a harshly-worded statement issued by their lawyer, the Wen family responded to allegations of hidden wealth in a recent New York Times article, calling the piece farcical and criticizing the paper for grossly under-reporting the family’s ill-gotten gains.
“Frankly, this is the sort of shoddy and libelous reporting we’ve come to expect from The New York Times,” the statement began. “The so-called journalist and fact checkers at the Times completely missed the family’s Swiss bank accounts and numerous offshore holding companies registered under false names.”
The statement went on to admonish those gullible enough to believe the impossibly low numbers.
“It is unthinkable that someone in his position would only misappropriate $2.7 billion over 10 years,” the statement read. “Wen Jiabao is the Premier of the People’s Republic of China and a member of the Politburo Standing Committee—not some local official playing at corruption.”
Xinhua News Agency called the Times report “insulting” and “a hit piece designed to make Chinese leaders look like paupers.” The state news agency did its own calculation and estimated that the Premier’s family wealth, “taking into account their various front businesses and Bolivian shell companies, is closer to $6.3 billion, give or a take a few hundred million.”
Frank Sullivan, an editor at the Times, admitted the report was overly conservative. “We wanted to be safe and under-report rather than over-report. I see now that this was a mistake.”
Sullivan vowed to print a retraction with the revised figures in tomorrow’s paper.
“I should have known Wen Jiabao’s family had more stolen assets stashed away,” he said. “After all, the guy’s name literally means ‘family treasure.’ ”