China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (386) won dismissal of a U.S. lawsuit by a Hong Kong businessman who claimed company executives were involved in a plot that left him imprisoned for five years on trumped-up charges.
U.S. District Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell in Los Angeles yesterday granted Sinopec’s request to dismiss the $5.17 billion case, agreeing that the company wasn’t properly served with the complaint and, even if it had been, that she lacks jurisdiction over the alleged wrongdoing in China.
Tiangang Sun, former chairman of GeoMaxima Energy Holdings Ltd., claimed last year that officials of Sinopec and the Chinese government had him arrested in 2005 after he sued the oil company in Beijing for breaching a pipeline contract.
“The only domestic conduct that Mr. Sun alleges are the telephone calls he received from Sinopec China coconspirators while he was in the United States,” according to the judge’s decision. “Threatening telephone calls are insufficient” to allow the lawsuit in U.S. courts, she said.
Michael Zweiback, Sun’s lawyer, didn’t immediately return a call for comment on the ruling.
Sun said in his complaint that he wasn’t brought before a judge until about three years after his arrest. While he was imprisoned on bribery and embezzlement charges, his assets were seized and his wife and daughter had to hide in the countryside, Sun said.
Sun was released in 2010 and allowed to leave for the U.S. in 2012, after two years of house arrest, according to the complaint. He said he continued to receive threats, some against his wife and daughter still living in China, warning him not to pursue legal steps against Sinopec in the U.S.
The case is Sun v. China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (SNP:US), 13-cv-05355, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).
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