Assuming Sino-Forest is legit with all its claims, it will still be very problematic for them. In China (specially rural China), ownership titles are often murky at best. You will be surprised how many claims of ownership are "secured" by little more than a piece of napkin like paper signed by the local village or township head.
You are OK as long as the signer is still in power and the higher-up doesn't look into it too much. Here lies the problem and that is why they steadfastly refused to disclose the deal details.
Sino Forest claims to have made so much money flipping its timber properties. You will bet the local officials benefited enormously from the deals. They can't afford full disclosure because that by itself will draw unwanted attentions in China and can easily killed the deals even if parties did sign before in good faith.
Also he couldn't cut it as a lawyer. He burned out early. He went to a third tier law school-Chicago Kent Law School where the avg lawyer coming out of there makes 35k (look at Above the Law a gossip blog for the law profession). He doesn't have a CFA. His only experience is working at his dad's penny stock pushing firm run from his home in Pacific Palisades. Herb Greenberg actually invited him to talk on CNBC regarding the claims but he hasn't - you could tell how shifty he was on the bloomberg interview. From what I hear from the people who listened in on his mon conference call it was disasterous. He came off more like a punk. Who puts Gordon Gecko on his investment firms web site banner? On Wall Street Oasis and DealBreaker they know he's a one man firm with multiple misspellings on his reports.
I don't have a problem with a report that is vetted but the fact that some of the underlying accusations were quickly discredited- such as Block's lack of knowledge of 'Standing Timber' makes it highly suspect.
That is pure horseshit.
You obviously have no real basis in fact, or likely ANY on-the-ground business experience in China, to make those claims.
I have invested quite successfully for the past six years in Chinese resource plays.
This is no scam - quit talking out of your a$$.
If the details are published, the higher-up will have no choice. Besides, there are rivals in the government will want to do the deals and get the profits themselves. It will be a good opportunity to kick out the existing officials and take over the racket themselves. This happens all the time in China right now. Killing off a few low level officials don't scare foreign investors. It happens everyday right now. No government can openly condone corruption. That is why they have to keep it private, but the market and legal system in Canada won't let them. Here lies the problem.
Timber is going bonkos in China, end of story. There is tremendous demand for housing completely outside any real estate areas that might be over heating. There is such a tail wind. If your point is politicians are involved in the process, why start with China when you can look out your window and see that in the US? It is possible to succeed despite the politics.
In China, if the politicians are exposed, they will be removed and all deals they ever signed are voided, and you will have no recourse. You will count your blessing if they don't put you in jail and fine you a large sum of money as well.