Sen. Casey Wants Probe of Chinese Solar Panel Makers

Friday, 16 Dec 2011 03:33 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey Jr. wants an investigation into how major Chinese solar panel makers were able to access American capital markets and raise billions of dollars.
 
In a letter to Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Schapiro, the Democratic senator cited a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review investigation that reported seven Chinese firms set up shell companies in the Cayman Islands so they can be listed on the New York and NASDAQ stock exchanges, the newspaper reported Thursday.
 
Casey told Schapiro that China heavily subsidized the companies, creating a drastic oversupply of panels that “severely impacted” the well-being of American solar firms.
 
“This gives them an unfair advantage for their companies that our companies don’t have,” Casey said.
 
Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., joined Casey in criticizing the Chinese companies. Stearns is chairman of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on oversight, and is a vocal critic of the Obama administration’s handling of a $535 million federal loan guarantee to American solar company Solyndra Inc. just before it closed this year.
 
Stearns, in an email to the newspaper, blasted China as “an international pariah” that uses the Cayman Islands shell companies so they can hide behind Chinese laws “that prevent them from being held accountable for securities violations.”
 
On Wednesday, a SEC judge suspended trading and revoked the securities of Longtop Financial Technologies Ltd., a Chinese software company registered in the Caymans, because it refused to disclose key financial documents to U.S. investigators.
 
Longtop was formed in 2007, shortly after six of the seven companies making up the Chinese solar industry’s holdings in the Caymans.

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