Arent Fox Files RICO and Alien Tort Lawsuit against China’s Largest Oil
Company for Human Rights Abuses on Behalf of Chinese Businessman
LOS ANGELES -- July 25, 2013
On July 24, Arent Fox LLP filed RICO and Alien Tort Claims Act charges in a
California federal court against China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation Ltd.
(SINOPEC), one of the world’s largest oil and natural gas companies, and a
subsidiary of the Chinese government. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of
Tiangang Sun, a self-made Chinese billionaire who suffered human rights
violations, including malicious prosecution, false arrest, detention and
torture at the hands of the Chinese government. Case No. CV13-05355.
Mr. Sun, now a California resident, filed his case in the United States
District Court for the Central District of California, as he was unable to get
a fair trial in China where, according to the United States State Department
2012 Country Report, “closed trials” are the norm and the government maintains
“political control of courts and judges,” where “Judges regularly received
political guidance on pending cases, including instructions on how to
rule…particularly in politically sensitive cases.”
“Our judicial system offers him the opportunity for a fair and open hearing
not available to him in China or elsewhere,” said Michael Zweiback, a white
collar partner at Arent Fox and lead trial counsel for Mr. Sun.
According to the filing, when Mr. Sun demanded financial redress for the
economic harm caused by SINOPEC’s illegal actions, officials at the company
threatened him, while demanding that he cease all efforts to hold SINOPEC
responsible for its conduct or risk his personal safety. After repeatedly
trying to resolve the dispute amicably, Mr. Sun was told that if he continued
to demand accountability, SINOPEC would arrange to have him imprisoned. Mr.
Sun responded to these threats by filing two lawsuits, one in Hong Kong and
the other in Beijing, ultimately resulting in his detention in inhumane
conditions for over five years.
The lawsuit states that after serving more than five years in a Chinese prison
and 16 months under house arrest, Mr. Sun was told that he would be detained
again with family members if he brought any legal action against SINOPEC and
those who interrogated him. In November 2012 he fled the country for the
United States to seek protection and to make public SINOPEC’s actions,
including the false and misleading financial statements it has made to the
public about its oil operations. Even while in the US Mr. Sun continued to
receive threats of serious bodily harm and even death to his wife, daughter
and other family members if he pursued legal action in the US. Those threats
are still ongoing, forcing him to hire a private security firm to safeguard
“Stripped of his fortune, his family, his country, his peace of mind and even
his health by the defendants who continue to threaten his life and those of
his wife and daughter in China, Mr. Sun is determined to fight for his
rights,” said Mr. Zweiback. “He is committed to bring into the light of day
the illegal tactics SINOPEC utilizes to functionally and physically eliminate
its competitors, to steal their assets and have their principals thrown in
jail under false pretenses.”
Strategic, aggressive, and innovative, Arent Fox’s Complex Litigation group
has been recognized byChambers USAfor its “streamlined” approach that
delivers “quality” results. With more than 125 litigators, the practice boasts
a deep bench and international reach while having extensive experience in
bet-the-company cases before federal and state courts and regulatory agencies.
The group is especially proficient at managing parallel litigation in multiple
jurisdictions and represents clients in matters that include intellectual
property, health care, life sciences, trade, automotive, insurance and human
About Arent Fox LLP
Founded in 1942, Arent Fox is internationally recognized in core practice
areas where business and government intersect. With more than 350 lawyers, the
firm provides strategic legal counsel and multidisciplinary solutions to
clients that range from Fortune 500 corporations to trade associations. The
firm has offices in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.
Arent Fox LLP
Alison Bygrave, 213-443-7578
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