Lord Grade locked in court battle with former business 'partner'

Lord Grade faces £2.5million court battle with a former business ‘partner’ he has since reported to the fraud squad over a fundraising campaign in the Far East

  • Lord Grade is locked in a High Court battle with his Chinese business partner  
  • Zheng Yongxiong allegedly boasted of being jailed for a Ponzi-style scheme
  • Lord Grade travelled with Yongxiong to Macau to convince investors to pump £7.5million into his controversial, loss-making, media company

Conservative peer Lord Grade is locked in a High Court battle with a former business partner he now accuses of illegal activity, it can be revealed.

The former BBC chairman is facing questions over his judgment after teaming with an entrepreneur who allegedly boasted of being jailed and is accused of being party to Ponzi-style schemes.

Lord Grade, chairman of the Lords’ select committee on the impact of the gambling industry, even travelled with the businessman to Macau, one of the world’s gambling hotspots, to convince investors to pump £7.5million into his controversial, loss-making, media company.

Lord Grade is pictured at the funeral of Sir Ken Dodd in Liverpool in 2018. Conservative peer Lord Grade is locked in a High Court battle with a former business partner he now accuses of illegal activity

During the 2018 roadshow, he described Zheng Yongxiong, known as Quentin, as his ‘partner’ while attempting to drum up funding in Gate Ventures, which backs West End shows and films.

Lord Grade, 76, is chairman of the company and the Duchess of York was a non-executive director until stepping down in December.

Mr Zheng is said to have promised that the Far East roadshows would raise £7.5million, which has not materialised. However he launched court action attempting to place Gate Ventures into administration claiming he was owed £2.5million.

Lord Grade is pictured (centre) following an investor show in Macau in 2018 with Quentin Zheng (second from left) in 2018

The parties will battle it out at a London hearing today. Lord Grade has already reported Mr Zheng to the Government’s Serious Fraud Office over the botched fundraising.

Documents – seen by the Daily Mail – that are due to be put forward by Lord Grade and his associates claim that a company associated with Mr Zheng in China is under criminal investigation for alleged illegal public fundraising.

Another raid on the Chinese business, which had its operations suspended, was announced by the US Securities and Exchange Commission in November. Documents also suggest that Mr Zheng was named in a criminal judgement in China in 2017 as being a beneficiary of an illegal pyramid selling scheme.

A 2018 file photo of former BBC chairman Lord Grade, who has said government moves over the BBC ‘feel’ like an attempt to bully the broadcaster

The revelations shine an uncomfortable light on the business dealings of the Tory peer, who regularly claims his full £313-a-day allowance for sitting in the Lords.

Some Gate investors claim money running into ‘millions of pounds’ has been misappropriated by the Gate Ventures board. They accuse Lord Grade and other board members of ‘potentially unlawful transactions’.

A spokesman for Gate Ventures said that when Mr Zheng offered to raise further funds, he had been ‘vouched for’ by the company’s previous largest shareholder so ‘the board felt it was ok to take him up on his offer’. A spokesman for Mr Zheng refused to comment ahead of the court proceedings.

 

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