Lawsuits claims Yahoo squandered trust fund for Chinese dissidents

Back in 2007, Yahoo faced criticism for its role in the jailing of Chinese dissidents

A pledge Yahoo made 10 years ago to help imprisoned Chinese dissidents has resulted in millions of dollars wasted, according to a lawsuit filed on Tuesday.

The lawsuit comes from several Chinese dissidents who were supposed to benefit from a trust fund Yahoo established back in 2007. At the time, the internet company had faced a backlash for handing over emails to the Chinese government, with the cooperation leading to the jailing of a Chinese journalist and an engineer who called for democratic reform.

To address the controversy, Yahoo paid US$17.3 million to establish a trust fund devoted to helping imprisoned Chinese dissidents. However, since then, the fund has been embroiled in ongoing allegations that it mismanaged the money.

Tuesday’s lawsuit accuses Yahoo and the trust fund managers of misspending $13 million on expenses that had nothing to do with its mission. Yahoo, which Verizon is planning to acquire, said it doesn’t comment on litigation.

Many of the allegations focus on Harry Wu, a Chinese activist who was charged with overseeing the trust fund. Wu, who died last year, likely used more than $13 million from the fund to enrich himself and his own nonprofit organization, even as Yahoo was warned about the activities, the lawsuit claims.

“Because the Yahoo Defendants did not truly care about the ‘human rights issue in China,’ the Yahoo Defendants did nothing to investigate,” the lawsuit said.

Instead, only about $700,000 has been spent on the trust fund’s original mission, the lawsuit contends. The lawsuit also accuses Yahoo of using the trust fund to mitigate legal action and criticism against the company over its role in the jailing of Chinese dissidents.

The lawsuit demands the assets in the Yahoo trust fund be restored. It also seeks damages against Yahoo, along with Wu’s estate and his nonprofit group.  

Before his death, Wu reportedly denied allegations of misspending the fund's money, claiming that the Chinese dissidents seeking grants could be deceitful and greedy. 

“Some of them lie to us,” he said in an interview before his death. “We are frustrated by these Chinese victims.”

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?