Billionaire Barred From Buying Himself Nice Things

It's a 'humbling turn of events' for Chen Feng
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2020 11:45 AM CDT
Billionaire Told He's Not Allowed to Buy Anything Fancy
No spending of this on anything fancy.   (Getty Images)

A life without first-class flights, luxury hotels, and weekends at the golf course. For most of us, that sounds like business as usual. For Chen Feng, it's "a humbling turn of events," reports the New York Times. Chen is both a billionaire and the co-founder and chairman of the Chinese conglomerate HNA Group, which once owned 25% of Hilton Worldwide and has stakes in Deutsche Bank and Virgin Australia—acquisitions that have saddled the company with billions in debt. Still, Chen was thought to be worth $1.9 billion as of last year, and as an indicator of his wealth, the Times notes that he bought up a full floor in One57, an elite residential building in Manhattan. But there will be no big purchases anytime soon for Chen thanks to a Chinese court, which ruled this week that Chen couldn't spend on anything other than essentials after HNA Group failed to pay an investor in two lawsuits.

The South China Morning Post gets specific about the no-nos: Chen can't purchase property, renovate any of his homes, or go to pricey hotels, clubs, or golf courses. Reuters notes his children are barred from attending private school. As for what the investor is owed? Just north of $5,000. Chai Jing, 50, sued after buying two investment products from HNA investment platform Jubaohui in 2018 and failing to receive the money owed to her. A court in March told HNA to pay her 36,000 yuan in principal and interest within 10 days. They didn't, although it's unclear if the payment was later made. Observes Reuters, "While such court-ordered bans in China are indefinite, there are precedents where bans have been lifted after the defendants paid." (Read more billionaire stories.)

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