Buying one’s own vineyard sounds great, but it’s probably best not to go around using misappropriated government funds to do so, because that’s the sort of thing auditors tend to notice. That happened this week when auditors revealed that Chinese government funds earmarked for technological investment were actually used to buy 14 vineyards in France.
According to The Telegraph, the announcement was made Wednesday as part of China’s highly publicized anti-corruption efforts. Among the cases of misused government funds uncovered in the audit were two companies, which auditors said had been given $43 million for overseas technology investments. Instead, they bought 14 vineyards in France.
According to the National Audit Office, one of the companies involved in the scandal is Haichang Group, which is already the biggest Chinese owner of Bordeaux vineyards. It has more than 10 estates in the area, including Chateau Chenu-Lafitte, according to The Local.
“Situations such as these are quite common at state companies,” said Gao Minghua, director of Beijing Normal University’s corporate governance center, in an interview with the Financial Times. “The government provides support that often isn’t necessary and is easily abused. The government needs to act more like an investor.”
China is currently the world’s fifth largest wine consumer, and the biggest consumer of red wine.