Yida Zhang being sued by Antiguan real estate firm for second time

Environmentalists are concerned for the welfare of some of Antigua’s unspoiled offshore islands (Photo courtesy George Wehner)
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by Gemma Handy

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A Jolly Harbour-based real estate firm – which helped developers behind the controversial Yida project buy 1,500 acres of land on which to construct their gargantuan scheme in 2014 – is suing the main investor for a second time for fraud.

Lux Locations says it is owed US$3 million, which equates to a five percent commission of the US$60 million sale agreed by signed contract in 2013.

The company previously sued Chinese investor Yida Zhang in 2017. Zhang attended the court hearings in person with the help of a Chinese interpreter.

Zhang is said to have agreed in the High Court to pay Lux Locations the US$3 million within 21 days, plus costs of US$300,000 dollars, along with ABST and interest.

He paid up just over US$700,000 a few days later but has failed to pay any more since, leaving a significant balance outstanding.

In 2018, Zhang claimed he didn’t realise what he was agreeing to when he signed the consent order the year before. He said his translator did not explain what the document was, and also that his legal representative did not have his authority to act on his behalf.

Zhang then sought an order setting aside the consent order, and was awarded default judgment against Lux Locations which is appealing the outcome.

The latest claim filed by the real estate firm earlier this month accuses Zhang of acting with conscious and deliberate dishonesty to mislead the High Court of Antigua and Barbuda, and fraud.

Lux Locations is fighting for its outstanding commission, along with damages. The case returns to court tomorrow.

The company’s attorney Andrew O’Kola confirmed an action had been filed but declined to comment further. Lux Locations also declined to comment.

David Dorsett, who is representing Zhang, told Observer, “I can confirm a case was filed on March 8 against Mr Yida saying he had obtained a judgment by fraud.

“We will be resisting that very strongly and consider it to be an outrageous allegation.”

The vast Yida development is set to see the creation of factories, homes and holiday resorts in the north east of Antigua. Much of it encroaches on the country’s largest marine reserve and many fear the impact it will have on the pristine environment.

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