For those who have not read it in full, you can read it here by clicking this link.
The statement has been a long time in coming.
Zhao has been chairman of BSH since Paul Suen Cho Hung completed his takeover in October 2016 and has been a club director since November 2016; and in all that time he has never spoken directly to fans before.
His lack of contact with fans was self-evident due to the number of supporters questioning who Zhao actually was on social media.
Who is Zhao Wenqing?
Zhao has rarely been involved with the day to day running of BCFC but has had to make a couple of management decisions when no one else would.
When former CEO Ren Xuandong was reticent to sack Steve Cotterill, it was Zhao who came over from China to do the job. Likewise, it was Zhao who sounded out players prior to sacking Aitor Karanka when it became obvious that Ren would not do it.
Furthermore, while officially Ren resigned as director, I would not personally be too surprised if he was pushed into doing so by Zhao.
Although Zhao is normally resident in China, he has been in Birmingham since January 2020 and lives locally in the area. That being said, people I have spoken to have not seen him either at St Andrew’s or the Wast Hills training ground often during his stay here.
Zhao has a number of other jobs as well as being director of Birmingham City. He’s a director of ten companies in Hong Kong, five in China and a bank in Cambodia.
Zhao has Cambodia connections? Is he connected to the owner Vong Pech?
One of the things in the statement that made me smile was Zhao talking about Vong Pech.
The impression I personally got from the wording is that Vong Pech is this distant figure and that Zhao didn’t really know him that well.
That’s not true.
Zhao is a director of a bank in Cambodia called Asia Pacific Development Bank. Interestingly the chairman of the board is Vong Pech, who also owns 97% of shares in the company. One would think that would mean Zhao and Vong Pech have had to have spoken at least a little bit with these roles.
Interestingly, I also have in my possession a piece of documentation which underlines Zhao’s connection to Cambodia.
For those who cannot read Mandarin Chinese, the document above is a loan document between Zhao and a Hong Kong company called Secret Rise Electronic Technology Ltd.
The Hong Kong company agree to loan Zhao US$500,000, which was due to be paid back by 14 March 2021.
I cannot say if this loan was repaid or not, because this is the only documentation I have.
However for those who might say that this is a draft document, the signatures and company chop on the final page would indicate that this is legitimate.
A bit of sleuthing on Google Maps for the address given for Zhao shows a very nice house in a nice part of Phnom Penh; nice enough to have a guard sitting outside the front door. I’m curious to know if this is Zhao’s actual address in Cambodia or if he’s used the address of someone else for the purpose of this loan document.
Does Zhao have any connections to Mr King / Wang Yaohui?
Yes he does. Four years ago when I first wrote about Wang Yaohui, I picked up on the fact that Zhao was a director for a company which Wang owned called Blue Harbor. This developed a shopping mall in Beijing called Solana.
Interestingly, this was the same company which was involved in the bribes for loans scandal that saw a banker jailed and Wang leg it from China.
Strangely, this was around the time that Wang’s name was taken off the list of directors and shareholders. Zhao himself left the company in September 2018.
For me, this documentary evidence means that there is absolutely no way that Zhao can deny knowing who Wang Yaohui is or having worked for him in the past.
Taking Zhao’s proven connection to Vong Pech into consideration and the valid questions surrounding Vong Pech’s background, I think Zhao has a lot to answer about just how connected he is to Wang Yaohui now.
Whether he will or not remains to be seen.