Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's family members today rejected an American newspaper's claim that they had amassed assets worth $2.7 billion and threatened to take legal action against the daily which, however, stood by its report.
Bai Tao of the Junhe Law Office and Wang Weidong of the Grandall Law Firm, both representing Wen's family, termed the New York Times report as untrue.
In a statement published by Hong Kong media groups, they said they had been "entrusted by the family members of Wen Jiabao" but did not specify which relatives do they represent. "The so-called 'hidden riches' of Wen Jiabao's family members in the New York Times' report do not exist," the statement said.
"Some of Wen Jiabao's family members have not engaged in business activities. Some were engaged in business activities, but they did not carry out any illegal business activity. They do not hold shares of any companies," the Hong Kong-based media groups quoted the statement as saying.
Wen's 90-year-old mother Yang Zhiyun -- who, the NYT report alleged, had accumulated a lot of wealth, including USD 120 million investment in a large Chinese financial company -- never had any income or property beyond her salary and pension, the statement said.
"Wen Jiabao has never played any role in the business activities of his family members, still less has he allowed his family members' business activities to have any influence on his formulation and execution of policies," it said.