Quentin D. Solano
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Quentin D. Solano in Breaking news,

The CEO of China's fake Goldman Sachs isn't talking

When it comes to Chinese knockoffs, the sky's the limit.

Counterfeiters have already produced millions of fake handbags, along with knockoff iPhones, Apple Watches and even realistic-looking fake Apple and IKEA retail outlets.


But now there's a new high-water mark: Somebody has set up a fake Goldman Sachs.

The financial institution, based in the southern Chinese boomtown of Shenzhen, is going by the name "Goldman Sachs (Shenzhen) Financial Leasing Co."

Not much is known about the fake Goldman Sachs (GS). Before the company's website went offline on Wednesday, it claimed the firm was founded in 2013 and is "the largest financial leasing firm in Shenzhen."

Corporate records name Zhou Linhong as CEO. Reached by phone on Friday, a man who identified himself as Zhou told CNNMoney that his business is not affiliated with the U.S.-based investment bank. He refused to answer additional questions before hanging up.

Bloomberg was first to report the fake. In a statement, Connie Ling, a Hong Kong-based spokeswoman for Goldman Sachs, told the news agency that "there are no ties between the U.S. investment bank and the Shenzhen company."

The existence of the fake Goldman Sachs came to light after the International Union of Operating Engineers, a U.S.-based casino workers union that monitors the gambling industry in Macau, sent a letter to Chinese authorities asking them to investigate the company.

The trade union suspects the fake Goldman Sachs has links to organized crime syndicates operating in Macau.

In addition to using the Goldman Sachs' name in English, the Shenzhen firm's Chinese name uses the characters gao sheng, which mean "high" and "prosperous." The real Goldman Sachs uses the same characters in its Chinese name.

China has a long history of churning out knockoffs, or "shanzhai."

In August, a 39-year-old man in eastern China was arrested for establishing a fake branch of China Construction Bank, the world's second largest bank by assets. The operation had card readers, teller counters and authentic-looking signs.

The ruse was discovered only when a local who had deposited 40,000 yuan ($6,200) was unable to withdraw the money at the real China Construction Bank, according to state media reports.

CNNMoney (Hong Kong)